End-stage liver disease is an irreversible condition in which the liver is scarred beyond repair and loses function, according to Mayo Clinic. Decreased appetite, itching, easy bleeding, nausea, yellowing of the skin, difficulty with cognitive tasks and swelling of the abdomen and legs are symptoms of end-stage liver disease.
Once cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, reaches a certain point, the liver decreases in functionality until it loses all or nearly all function, states Mayo Clinic. This is liver failure. The gastrointestinal tract may begin to bleed internally during liver failure due to enlarged veins in the esophagus. Additionally, once the liver can no longer remove toxins from the body, they can accumulate in the nervous system and cause further damage. Cirrhosis increases the risk of liver cancer, as well. The only cure for end-stage liver disease is a successful liver transplant, although correct treatment can prevent cirrhosis from progressing.
Alcohol abuse, hepatitis B and C, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are the most common causes of liver cirrhosis, notes Patient. Treating the underlying cause of liver cirrhosis is effective in delaying or ceasing progression of the disease in addition to other forms of management, such as a healthy diet, exercise, and the use of prophylactic antibiotics to minimize opportunistic bacterial infections. Patients who suffer from alcoholic cirrhosis and continue to drink experience dramatically increased rates of liver degradation.