Liver Disease: Stages, Symptoms, Lifestyle Changes to Adapt and Prevent It | Health

In addition to removing toxins and other chemical wastes from the blood, the liver is also responsible for continuously filtering the blood circulating through the body and converting nutrients and drugs absorbed through the digestive tract into chemicals ready for use. ‘use. The liver is one of the largest and most extraordinary organs in the body because it is a super organ that performs countless health functions while all other organs have specific or limited functions.

So far, more than 500 functions have been attributed to the liver, and scientists say more may be discovered over time. The most important function of the liver is the processing of everything we consume, be it food, alcohol, drugs or poisons and the liver is damaged by all the toxins we consume. Blood infections also reach the liver and inflict damage while many other disease processes, inflammations and diseases including cancer in other organs also target the liver.


In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Gaurav Chaubal, Program Director of Liver, Pancreas and Bowel Transplantation and HPB Surgery at Global Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, listed the possible symptoms one should not never avoid. They understand:

1. Yellowing of the skin and eyeballs (jaundice)

2. Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen.

3. Abdominal swelling (ascites)

4. Nausea.

5. A general feeling of unease (malaise)

6. Disorientation or confusion. (hepatic encephalopathy)

7. Drowsiness.

5 stages of liver disease:

Explaining that fatty liver disease is an accumulation of fat in the liver that can damage the liver and gradually progress to liver failure, Dr. Sulaiman Ladhani, Consultant Doctor of Thoracology and MD Chest and Tuberculosis at Masina Hospital, Byculla, Mumbai, explained: “It can be due to either excessive alcohol consumption or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It mainly occurs in overweight or obese people. Diabetic patients are at greater risk of having fatty liver disease.

He added: “Fatty liver is the result of abnormal merabolism and excess calories, fat taken in from food which is transported to the liver and eventually stored in the liver as fat. There are no symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is why it is called a silent disease. It is usually identified by coincidence during an ultrasound or a fibroscan.

Dr. Sulaiman Ladhani and Dr. Gaurav Chaubal talked about the different stages of liver disease or fatty liver disease. They are:

Stage 1. Simple foie gras – This happens when the liver begins to accumulate fat. There is no inflammation or scarring in the liver at this stage. There are no symptoms in the early stage. Thus, many people are unaware that they have a fatty liver. For many people, fatty liver disease does not progress with an unhealthy liver. With a healthy diet and regular physical activity, excess fat in the liver can be reduced. It is observed that about 10 to 20% of people with this simple fatty liver disease will go on to the next stage.

Stage 2: Inflammation – Hepatitis steato occurs when the accumulation of fat in liver cells is accompanied by a certain amount of inflammation. It affects approximately 5% of the population. If the amount of damaged tissue increases, the liver may eventually struggle to repair it fast enough. During this phase, ongoing damage to liver cells from a number of agents and diseases causes the liver to enlarge, and the person experiences abdominal pain in the upper right corner. During this stage, the condition may be treatable. However, in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, there may not be significant symptoms.

Stage 3: Fibrosis/Scarring – If the inflammation seen in Stage 1 is not controlled, liver tissue slowly begins to heal and scarred tissue begins to replace healthy liver tissue. The condition is called fibrosis. Here there is persistent scar tissue in the liver and in the blood vessels around the liver. The liver can still function quite well at this stage, and removing or treating the cause of the inflammation can prevent further progression or reverse some of the damage. However, if scar tissue begins to replace much of the normal tissue, liver function gradually begins to be affected. During this phase, proper medications and lifestyle changes can reverse the condition to some degree.

Stage 4: Cirrhosis of the liver – At this point the healing is complete and there is no possibility of the liver healing itself now. At this point the liver stops working properly and symptoms include jaundice where the eyes and fingernails start to turn yellow, a dull ache in the lower part of the ribs, or abdominal distension due to fluid buildup in the belly. The person begins to lose appetite, weight loss occurs, and other organs may be affected such as the kidneys, brain, and heart. Scar tissue in cirrhosis is difficult to remove, although further progression can be halted if the positive agent is removed. Most people have an early stage of the disease which is simple fatty liver disease or steato. Only a small number move on to the next steps.

Stage 5: End-stage liver disease (ESLD) – Liver failure is of 2 types – acute liver failure occurs quickly with a duration of 48-72 hours and is usually caused by reasons other than alcohol, while chronic liver failure takes a long time to develop. happen and is often caused by alcohol abuse, uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension or obesity. Other more common reasons are viral hepatitis, autoimmune diseases and certain metabolic diseases. Cognitive or mental health is also affected and the person often feels confused or disoriented. ESLD is usually fatal.

Stage 6: Liver cancerThis results in liver cancer which can occur at any time in the liver and for reasons other than liver disease (primary liver cancer). It can also develop during any of the 4 stages above and is not necessarily the last in the sequence. Just like ESLD, liver cancer is also fatal unless the tumor is removed, resected, or a liver transplant is performed.

Everything you need to know about liver transplantation:

Dr Gaurav Chaubal said: “Overall, a liver transplant is needed in three scenarios. First, when cirrhosis of the liver progresses and symptoms worsen despite medical treatment. Second, when other organs also begin to be involved due to cirrhosis, namely the brain, kidneys, and coagulation. Third, when liver cancer develops against the background of cirrhosis of the liver.

Dr. Akash Shukla, Director of Hepatology at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, revealed that after liver transplantation, there are 3 things that can affect long-term results and therefore need to be taken care of. He pointed out: “First, the drugs used to prevent rejection and make sure the body accepts the liver, these are called immunosuppressive drugs, initially there are 3 drugs and they gradually reduce to one drug per day beyond 1 year from transplant, but this one pill should be continued indefinitely. There is no restriction on how long the new liver will last, if proper medications are taken. It can last a very long time.”

He added: ‘The second important precaution a person should take is to prevent infection. The risk of infection is highest during the first 3 months, and during this period one should avoid unnecessary contact with people, live in a hygienic environment and eat well-cooked or very clean food. However, there is no need for complete isolation, and normal life activities can be continued, beyond 3 months the risk of infection drops significantly and is generally not a problem unless there is major exposure to infectious microbes.

The third point to consider, according to Dr. Akash Shukla, is to take care of the other organs of the body. He pointed out, “Although the liver is doing very well, in the long term we need to take care of other organs in the body and important metabolic fictions like controlling diabetes, blood pressure and ischemic heart disease by changing the mode living in a healthy lifestyle. lifestyle and nutritious diet. In addition, we must be extremely vigilant about the development of cancers in people who have received an organ transplant and for this, a regular visit to the doctor and screening for cancers, in particular head and neck cancers and skin cancers, are extremely important for the longevity of people after transplants.

Tips for preventing liver disease:

According to Dr. Sulaiman Ladhani, all stages of the liver are associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke before liver failure occurs. Therefore, maintaining a healthy diet and limiting sugar intake, quitting smoking and alcohol consumption, and exercising will help in the long run.

He advised: “Vitamin E is useful in preventing further progression. It is very important to have more clarity on this subject. Diet modification and calorie reduction, avoiding fast foods, carbonated drinks and heavy meals should be done. Having healthy meals and increasing the physical movement of the body as advised by the doctor is imperative. Regular liver tests and appropriate medications are essential. The progression of the disease is slow, therefore, the lifestyle is managed with proper diet as this can help prevent the disease from progressing further.

Echoing the same, Dr Gaurav Chaubal suggested: “Making small changes to your lifestyle and eating habits, such as – starting your day off right by eating a healthy breakfast, reducing salt and fat intake, avoiding too many processed or junk foods, detoxifying your system by taking plenty of fluids, indulging in healthy snacks including plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and daily exercise are some of the ways to prevent liver disease.

Comments are closed.