Do People With Liver Disease Experience All Stages of Liver Disease?

Liver disease patients who are in the early stages of the disease, in which inflammation or fibrosis occurs, do not go through further stages if they undergo successful treatment, since inflammation resolves or their livers start to heal, reports the American Liver Foundation. However, patients with untreated liver disease suffer cirrhosis, in which irreversible damage occurs. If the disease progresses to liver failure, patients experience very severe symptoms and increase their risks of coma and death.

While there are various types of liver disease, patients generally experience the same progression of the disease, notes the American Liver Foundation. During the early stage of a liver disease, inflammation causes tenderness and enlargement of the liver as the body works hard to heal an injury or combat an infection. Proper diagnosis and treatment of liver disease in its early stage resolves the inflammation.

The next stage is fibrosis, in which an inflamed liver begins to scar, and the extra scar tissue eventually replaces healthy tissue in the liver, explains the American Liver Foundation. However, if the scarred liver is properly treated, it may still gradually heal on its own.

An untreated scarred liver often progresses to cirrhosis, in which the liver loses its ability to heal itself, states the American Liver Foundation. The final stage is liver failure, wherein the liver no longer functions properly.