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Acute Liver Disease

Acute Liver Disease Symptoms and Causes

Acute Liver Disease Description:
Acute liver diseases have symptoms that appear suddenly. Common acute liver diseases include:

  • Jaundice — A yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes due to abnormally high levels of bilirubin (bile pigment) in the bloodstream.
  • Cholestasis — Any condition in which bile flow is reduced or stopped.
  • Liver enlargement — Usually an indicator of liver disease.
  • Portal hypertension — Abnormally high blood pressure in the portal vein, which supplies the liver with blood from the intestine.
  • Esophageal varices — Dilated blood vessels within the walls of the lower part of the esophagus that are prone to bleeding.
  • Ascites — Fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity caused by fluid leaks from the surface of the liver and intestine.
  • Liver encephalopathy — The deterioration of brain function and damage to the nervous system due to toxic substances building up in the blood which are normally removed by the liver.
  • Liver failure — The severe deterioration of liver function.

Acute Liver Disease Symptoms

Symptoms for acute liver disease vary, based on the condition. Some acute liver diseases, like jaundice and ascites, are themselves symptoms of other liver conditions. Acute liver disease symptoms include:

  • Dark urine
  • Pale stool
  • Bone loss
  • Easy bleeding
  • Itching
  • Small, spider-like blood vessels visible in the skin
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Chills
  • Pain from the biliary tract or pancreas
  • Enlarged gallbladder
  • Bleeding of the varicose veins at the lower end of the esophagus and in the stomach lining
  • A feeling of being full

Acute Liver Disease Causes

Specific causes of liver disease vary based on the condition, but can include:

  • Hepatitis
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Drug effects
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • A stone in the bile duct
  • Bile duct narrowing
  • Bile duct cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Inflammation of the pancreas