The term "liver disease" applies to many diseases and disorders that cause the liver to function improperly or cease functioning. Abnormal results of liver function tests often suggest liver disease.
Liver failure is the inability of the liver to perform its normal synthetic and metabolic function as part of normal physiology. Two forms are recognised:
* Acute liver failure
- development of hepatic encephalopathy
(confusion, stupor and coma) and decreased production of proteins (such as albumin and blood clotting proteins) within four weeks of the first symptoms (such as jaundice) of a liver problem. "Hyperacute" liver failure is said to be present if this interval is 7 days or less, while "subacute" liver failure is said to be present if the interval is 5-12 weeks.
* Chronic liver failure
usually occurs in the context of cirrhosis, itself potentially the result of many possible causes, such as excessive alcohol intake, hepatitis B
or C, autoimmune, hereditary and metabolic causes (such as iron or copper overload or non-alcoholic fatty liver