End Stage Liver Disease

End stage liver disease is a chronic liver condition, wherein the liver fails to function completely and the patient needs a liver transplant. This article will educate you about this condition, explaining the possible causes, symptoms and treatment options available.
As the term suggests, end stage liver disease (ESLD) is an irreversible and absolutely chronic liver disease which leads to liver failure which can have a fatal outcome. The term itself signifies that it is the final stage of liver damage and that it needs to be replaced by a healthy liver through a liver transplant, unless diagnosed in its initial stage. This disease develops over a period of several years and most of the time, it is difficult to detect the ailment initially. It is only after a significant period of time that this disease starts to show some symptoms, mostly, when it has reached its last stage. As per statistics, 10% of adults in the United States of America suffer from some or the other kind of liver disease. In fact, liver disease is the seventh largest cause of adult deaths in America... adults aged between 25 - 64 years. As we proceed with the article we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and the nearest treatment for this condition.

Causes of End Stage Liver Disease

When it comes to liver functions, did you know that liver performs more than 5000 functions every minute to keep our body function in a smooth way. It stores various vitamins and minerals along with glucose in the body! Not only this, liver is responsible for detoxifying harmful chemicals and toxins, including alcohol and drugs, in the body. There are certain health conditions that can lead to a person suffer from ESLD. These are discussed as under.
  • Alcoholism
  • Fatty Liver
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Hepatitis
  • Liver Cancer
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Damage in the bile duct
  • Harmful toxins and drugs
  • Genetic Disorder
  • Autoimmune Disorders
Symptoms of End Stage Liver Disease

Just knowing the causes is not enough. You must also have adequate knowledge of the symptoms which can help you identify if there is something wrong with your liver or not. Have a look at what you may experience in this condition.
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Swelling in the abdominal area
  • Weakness
  • Appetite Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice
  • Itching
  • Abnormality in the blood vessels of the skin
  • Weight loss
Ideal Diet for End Stage Liver Disease

When it comes to the diet, you must make sure that you eat food items that will reduce the strain on the liver to detoxify what you eat, and filter the waste products from your blood. It is advisable to extremely minimize the intake of sodium, saturated fats and sugar from your diet, as these food items put a lot of strain on the liver. The following are some suggested food items that you should include in your diet when dealing with end stage liver disease.
  • Consume a minimum of 1 gram to 1.5 grams of protein in your diet which should be per kilogram of your body weight. Which means, if you weigh 50 kg, then consume 50-75 grams of protein per day.
  • If you are eating meat, then make sure that you completely avoid red meat and consume only lean meat.
  • Include a lot of fruits and vegetables in every meal.
  • Avoid consumption of egg yolk. Eating egg whites for breakfast along with fresh fruit juice and lean meat would be fine.
  • You can also use some supplements of Omega 3 fats approximately 5-10 grams a day. It is said that Omega 3 fatty acids help in dealing with liver diseases.
Treatment for End Stage Liver Disease

When the liver damage is at the end stage, then it ceases to perform the major functions in the body. Its capacity to detoxify the toxins in the body, storage of glucose, vitamins, minerals is almost nil. In fact, the liver can also become cancerous. The bottom line is that it simply is not good enough to carry its usual functions anymore. Once the liver disease is in the end stage, a liver transplant is the most relevant option that could help cure the disease by replacing the damaged liver with a healthy liver. In fact, going forward with the liver transplant surgery also depends upon the severity of the condition. In many cases, patients do not even qualify for a transplant. Therefore it is best to get in touch with your health care specialist as soon as you feel that there is something wrong with your liver. If you are qualified to go forward with a liver transplant, then a healthy liver of a deceased donor is replaced with your damaged liver. Although there are some cases wherein a living donor donates some part of the healthy liver to the patient. In this case, a complete transplant is not possible and only a portion of the liver is replaced.

Although, getting the news that a person is suffering from end stage liver disease is devastating, you can incorporate certain medications and consume healthy diet in your daily lifestyle to fight the condition. Although the life expectancy is very low, it is not necessary that it will happen right away. So, no matter what the condition is, you can try to give it a good fight. It is best to get in touch with your health care specialist as he/she would be the appropriate person who can help you in proper diagnosis and treatment. Take care.
By Shalu Bhatti
Last Updated: 9/26/2011
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