There is a strong incentive for anyone who might have liver disease to seek an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan; without these necessary steps to healing the liver, several potential complications could arise. These complications range from inconvenient to deadly. If you suspect you are suffering from a liver disease complication, speak to your health care provider as soon as possible.
Cholestasis is the name for the condition wherein the flow of bile leading away from the liver is obstructed. This complication of liver disease has several symptoms of its own, including white stool, trouble digesting foods, nausea, itching and pain in the abdomen. It can be diagnosed with a CT scan, but the only way to treat cholestasis is to find and treat the underlying liver disease causing it. Note that cholestasis can have a less serious, easily handled cause behind it other than liver disease; pregnancy, for example, is also a common cause.
Cirrhosis of the liver refers to the scarring and subpar function of a disease-ridden liver. Some of the most frequent causes of cirrhosis are alcoholism and hepatitis. Cirrhosis may cause weight loss, trouble thinking clearly, abdominal pain, poor sex drive and edema in the legs and arms. The easiest way to confirm this condition is via biopsy. Cirrhosis is treated through changes in diet, specifically those that eliminate alcohol, limit sodium and provide a maximum number of vitamins and nutrients to help the liver heal. Cirrhosis has complications of its own, including potential infections (cured by antibiotics) and blood coagulating problems (cured with medication or diet). Because it involves scarring, cirrhosis never goes away completely. If sufficiently severe, it may result in the need for a liver transplant.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is a type of liver cancer which can be caused by other liver ailments. When liver disease is severe, it may result in permanent scarring (cirrhosis); in some cases, this scarring can lead to cancer. People who bleed easily may have hepatocellular carcinoma. When detected early, this type of cancer can be treated with surgery to remove the tumor; unfortunately most cases go undetected until it is too late. The prognosis for this complication is unfortunately low. Somewhere between 10 and 20% of cases are successfully resolved. The survival rate for cases where surgery cannot root out the cancer is 3 to 5 months.
Liver failure occurs where disease causes substantial damage to a liver, such that it is no longer able to properly function in the body. When this occurs, the life of the person afflicted with liver failure is in danger. There are many symptoms of liver failure, including nausea, feeling tired all the time, diarrhea, easy bleeding and tiredness. Some cases of liver failure resolve as the liver regenerates itself and eliminate the problem; in other cases, only a liver transplant can save the person. It is easier to prevent liver failure than to treat it; prevention involves a healthy diet, regular exercise, care around anything that might be used by a person with a contagious type of liver disease and practicing safe sex.