The key difference between cirrhosis and liver failure is that cirrhosis is a medical condition in which the liver is scarred and permanently damaged, while liver failure is a medical condition that occurs when the liver is not working well enough to perform its function such as manufacturing bile and removing harmful substances from the body.
The liver is the largest organ in the body. It helps the human body to digest food, store energy and remove poisons or harmful substances. There are many kinds of liver problems, including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, acute liver failure, hemochromatosis, and Wilson disease. Cirrhosis and liver failure are two such types of liver problems.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Cirrhosis
3. What is Liver Failure
4. Similarities – Cirrhosis and Liver Failure
5. Cirrhosis vs Liver Failure in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Cirrhosis vs Liver Failure
What is Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is a medical condition in which the liver is scarred and permanently damaged. In this condition, scar tissue gradually replaces the healthy liver cells. There are two types of cirrhosis: compensate and decompensate. Decompensate type is the stage where there is too much scarring and the development of complications. The symptoms of cirrhosis may include fatigue and weakness, lack of appetite and weight loss, nausea, jaundice, intense itching, spiderweb-like blood vessels in the skin, redness in the palms of the hands or whitening of the nails, problems with concentration and memory, cessation of periods in women, loss of sex drive, breast development or shrinkage in testicles in men, vomiting blood, severe muscle cramps, brownish urine, fever, enlarged spleen, and bone disease.
Moreover, cirrhosis is caused due to various causes such as alcohol abuse, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis B and C, cystic fibrosis, diseases that make it hard for the body to process sugars, too much iron build up in the body, Wilson’s disease, autoimmune diseases, blockage of the bile duct, certain genetic digestive disorders, infections like syphilis and brucellosis and bad reactions to certain medications.
Cirrhosis can be diagnosed through medical history, physical examination, blood test, MRI or ultrasound, and biopsy. Furthermore, cirrhosis is treated through home care (stop drinking alcohol, lose weight, take a low sodium diet, eat high proteins diet, drink a lot of water, etc.), medications (antiviral medicines for hepatitis B and C, gets shots for flu, pneumonia, hepatitis A and B, water pills, blood pressure medications and antibiotic, steroids, etc.), and surgery (liver transplant).
What is Liver Failure?
Liver failure is a medical condition arising when the liver is not working well enough to perform its functions, such as manufacturing bile and removing harmful substances from the body. Liver failure can be a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention. There are two types of liver failures as acute and chronic.
Acute liver failure occurs when the liver stops working within a matter of days or weeks. Chronic liver failure occurs when the liver stops working over a long period of time. The symptoms of liver failure may include nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, diarrhoea, jaundice, bleeding easily, swollen belly, mental confusion, and sleepiness. The causes of acute liver failure include acetaminophen overdose, viruses (hepatitis A and B, Epstein Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex virus), reactions to certain prescription or herbal medicines, eating poisonous wild mushrooms, autoimmune hepatitis, Wilsons’ disease, acute fatty liver of pregnancy, septic shock, Budd Chiari syndrome, and industrial toxins. The causes of chronic hepatitis include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, long-term alcohol consumption, (cirrhosis), and hemochromatosis.
Moreover, liver failure can be diagnosed through blood tests (liver function test, prothrombin time test), imaging tests (ultrasound, abdominal computerized CT scanning), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and transjugular biopsy. Furthermore, liver failure can be treated by avoiding alcohol or other medications that harm the liver, reducing the consumption of certain foods such as red meat, cheese, and eggs, weight loss, and controlling metabolic risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cutting down salt, acetylcysteine medication (acute liver failure), intravenous fluid to maintain blood pressure, laxatives to flush out toxins, monitoring blood sugar level in acute failure, blood transfusion, supportive care, and liver transplant.
What are the Similarities Between Cirrhosis and Liver Failure?
- Cirrhosis and liver failure are two types of liver problems.
- Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure.
- Both conditions may have similar causes, such as alcohol consumption, drug overdose, and viruses.
- They can be treated through medications, supportive care, and liver transplant.
What is the Difference Between Cirrhosis and Liver Failure?
Cirrhosis is a medical condition in which the liver is scarred and permanently damaged, while liver failure is a medical condition that occurs when the liver is not working well enough to perform its function, such as manufacturing bile and ridding the body of harmful substances. This is the key difference between cirrhosis and liver failure.
The following table summarizes the difference between cirrhosis and liver failure.
Summary – Cirrhosis vs Liver Failure
Cirrhosis and liver failure are two different types of liver problems that are correlated. In cirrhosis, the liver is scarred and damaged permanently, while in liver failure, the liver is not working well enough to perform its function, such as manufacturing bile and ridding the body of harmful substances. This is the key difference between cirrhosis and liver failure.
1. Slivinski, Natalie. “Cirrhosis: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Diagnosis, and Treatment.” WebMD.
2.“Liver Failure Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, Tests & More.” WebMD.