The causes of abnormal liver function may be genetic or inherited, according to Mayo Clinic and the American Liver Foundation. Viruses, alcohol use and obesity are common causes of liver damage. Other causes include hepatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver infiltration, obesity and cancer, which often leads to malnutrition and liver damage.
An abnormal liver function test does not necessarily indicate a serious or life-threatening problem with the liver, according to Mayo Clinic. Some liver problems are treated with fairly simple lifestyle changes. For instance, an obese person with abnormal liver function is normally asked to change his diet in order to lose weight, and someone who drinks heavily must control his alcohol consumption. More serious liver complications often require medication or surgery, and in some cases, a liver transplant is needed.
Chronic liver disease is not the same as acute liver failure, according to WebMD. Acute liver disease is caused by an overdose of acetaminophen, hepatitis and reactions to ingesting medications or herbal supplements. Early symptoms of liver failure include nausea, fatigue and loss of appetite. As the condition progresses, symptoms such as jaundice, bleeding easily and swelling in the abdomen may occur. At the later stages, coma, sleepiness and mental confusion occur.