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Acute liver failure is a condition in which a large part of the liver gets damaged and does not function efficiently. Liver is the second largest part of the body which helps in processing the food. The liver converts food into nutrients and energy for the body. It filters the harmful substances from the body and also fights and eliminates the infection from the body. Failure of the liver may disturb the functioning of the body.
Acute liver failure is also known as fulminant hepatic failure. It is less common when compared to chronic liver failure. This is a serious condition and needs immediate medical attention. If acute liver failure is left untreated the condition may develop serious complications.
In most of the cases, liver damage occurs gradually over a period of time but in some rare cases, the damage to the liver occurs rapidly and may be difficult to diagnose the condition. Acute liver failure occurs suddenly without any signs and symptoms as a warning to the condition.
The signs and symptoms of acute liver failure are:
There may be similar symptoms for various other disorders and problems and therefore the diagnosis for liver failure may be difficult. Some people may not develop any signs or symptoms until the condition reaches the final stage. The person may be at a risk of slipping into coma by the time he reaches the final stage of liver failure.
In case some people suffer from alcohol-related liver disease, they may suffer from jaundice and the color of the eyes and skin turns yellow in color. In such cases, there is a tendency of the accumulation of toxins in the brain which may result in the lack of concentration and may have decreased mental ability. In severe cases, the person may also develop liver cancer.
A person may develop acute liver failure even without any preexisting liver disease. In some cases, acute liver failure may develop due to the overdose of a drug called acetaminophen.
Acute liver failure may be caused due to the below mentioned reasons.
The treatment for acute liver failure may depend on the severity of the condition. In case a part of the liver is damaged, the doctor may recommend a surgery to treat the affected part of the liver. In some cases the entire liver is damaged and therefore the doctor may recommend the patient to undergo a liver transplant.
The following are the preventive measures for acute liver failure:
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