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Stages of liver disease

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Liver disease is not something that occurs instantly. It happens as a result of repeated infections or inflammation, improper treatment, poor diet and drinking habits and many more factors. When the inflammation becomes chronic, it progresses towards a disease. We explain you the stages of liver disease over here:


Stage 1- Healthy Liver

Your liver is known for its amazing capability of re-growing, repair and regeneration.  It carries out a wide range of functions which include eliminating toxins from your body, synthesis of blood clotting proteins, regulating supply of glucose and fats to the body for energy generation, metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, synthesis of bile and many more. Your system will be functioning absolutely well when your liver is healthy. Anything that prevents normal functioning of the liver can be a risk to your life.


Stage 2- Liver Inflammation

This is the first stage towards progression of liver disease. Your liver gradually starts enlarging and it becomes tender to fight off the disease and this forms the basis for diagnosis of an inflamed liver.

You might experience certain symptoms like feeling full all the time, abdominal discomfort, jaundice, weight loss, nausea, and weakness in your body. Some people do not experience the symptoms.

Enlargement of liver can occur from: 

  • Viral infection - hepatitis
  • Over consumption of alcohol
  • Side effects of medicines or toxin damage
  • Metabolic syndrome, autoimmune disorders or congenital factors
  • Formation of tumour in liver
  • Complication in blood circulation in the liver, e.g. hepatic vein thrombosis

However, any type of inflammation at this stage can be managed with proper medical care, thereby preventing progression of the disease to the next stage.


Stage 3- Liver Fibrosis

An uncontrolled, untreated or poorly managed inflammation can lead to fibrosis of the liver. Liver fibrosis is a chronic liver disease characterized by deposition of excess extracellular matrix protein and collagen on the liver. Your liver tries hard to repair itself but the process of repair ultimately leads to scarring of the liver tissues.

The scar tissues continue piling over the liver and your liver loses its ability to function normally. Liver fibrosis is also progressive in nature. The scarred tissues first cause enlargement of the portal areas and then spread to surrounding tissues and ultimately reaches the central area of the liver.

An individual will suffer from jaundice and remain ill at this stage. However, liver fibrosis can be still treated effectively and your liver might heal itself with passage of time.


Stage 4- Liver Cirrhosis

Inevitably, cirrhosis is the last stage of liver disease and is a result of long-term, continuous damage to the liver. Liver cirrhosis cannot be the reversed, although your doctor would carry on treatment to avoid the complications.

At this point your health will severely degrade and you will suffer from the following concerns: 

  • Severe jaundice, weakness and weight loss
  • Water retention and swelling in different parts of the body
  • Vulnerability to bruises and bleeding
  • Blockage of blood circulation in liver- hepatic hypertension
  • Increased sensitivity towards drugs 

Failure of the liver to function normally can also affect your brain function and cause insulin resistance. The worst complications of liver cirrhosis are liver failure and liver cancer. In that case, treatments won’t work and you would require liver transplant.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: July 01, 2014