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How long can someone live with liver failure?

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Quick Answer

Liver failure that is caused by a virus can remain in a person for an unknown number of months or years, but an acute liver failure can only occur for 48 hours, as stated by WebMD. Liver failure occurs when a large part of the liver becomes damaged making the whole liver unable to function. The condition grows slowly and may take many years to develop in the body.

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Full Answer

The common causes of a liver failure include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, excessive consumption of alcohol, malnutrition, cirrhosis and hemochromatosis. Acute liver failure may be caused by eating poisonous wild mushrooms, certain medications, viruses and an overdose of acetaminophen.

At an early stage of the condition, a person may experience different symptoms including diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite and nausea. If the condition becomes worse, a patient may have different symptoms, such as coma, bleeding, sleepiness, jaundice, mental disorientation and a swollen abdomen.

Acute liver failure caused by an overdose of acetaminophen can be treated if the condition is detected early enough. Also, liver failure that is caused by a virus and detected early can heal on its own if a patient gets good medical care, as stated by WebMD. For severe conditions, the main aim of treatment is usually to save the remaining healthy part of the liver. A liver transplant may be required for difficult cases.

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