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What is end-stage liver disease?

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End-stage liver disease refers to an advanced stage of liver tissue damage, where the liver fails to perform its functions, according to eMedicineHealth. It is also known as liver failure. Although rarely reversible, the treatment of end-stage liver disease only prevents further liver damage, according to Mayo Clinic.

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Common causes of end-stage liver disease are chronic hepatitis and chronic alcoholism, states eMedicineHealth. Alcohol poisons the liver cells and causes liver inflammation. Other causes of end-stage liver disease include prolonged liver inflammation, poisons, heart disease, and long-term bacterial and parasitic infections. However, about 30 to 50 percent of end-stage liver disease cases lack traceable causes.

Recurring skin and eye yellowing, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, and abdominal swelling as a result of fluid accumulation are a few symptoms of end-stage liver disease, claims Mayo Clinic. End-stage liver disease can also lead to liver cancer, esophageal varices and hepatic encephalopathy. Whereas female patients may experience abnormal menstrual periods as a result of impaired hormone production and metabolism, male patients may have enlarged breasts, scrotal swelling and small testes due to the same factors as in women, explains eMedicineHealth.

To effectively treat end-stage liver disease, a patient should undergo liver transplant, advises Mayo Clinic. Most patients who undergo this procedure have a post liver transplant life of at least five years.

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