Copyright (c) 2008 Katie Kelley
Currently, there are approximately 15 to 20 percent of liver failure and liver disease conditions that have unknown origins, however, scientists recently discovered a new condition that may explain the development of liver failure among this mysterious population.
An article from Science Daily reported that scientists with the Heidelberg University Hospital found a link to the new genetic condition that occurs when toxic bile enters the liver because of missing protective components causing the exposure of the liver cells to “the toxic components of the bile, resulting in cirrhosis of the liver, a transformation of liver cells into connective tissue with a gradual loss of liver function,”.
According to researchers, a mutation that can occur within the ABCB4 gene, which can begin during childhood as well as during adulthood, is hereditary and can cause the secretion of bile or toxic substances leading to eventual liver damage.
While most liver damage/liver failure cases are linked to a known cause, researchers explained that up to 20 percent of liver failure cases have an unknown cause and believe this new condition may be responsible for the unknown causes of liver damage among patients.
What is Liver Disease?
Liver disease occurs when “conditions, diseases, and infections that affect the cells, tissues, structures, or functions of the liver,” according to the University of Illinois Medical Center.
One of the most common causes of liver disease among Americans is that of an over abundance of alcohol consumption/abuse, which can cause cirrhosis of the liver among 10 to 20 percent of heavy drinkers during a 10-year period. Individuals who feel they may suffer from liver disease and may be at an increased risk for liver failure should watch for the following signs and symptoms described by the University of Illinois Medical Center?s health library.
* darkened urine
* lowered libido
* aches and pains in the muscles
* nausea/loss of appetite
* fever (low grade)
* unexplained weight loss/gain
* low blood sugar
* vomiting, diarrhea
* light-colored stools
* generalized itching
* abdominal pain in upper right of stomach
Prescription Drugs Act as New Liver Failure Risk
Liver failure is commonly attributed to several various causes including the following:
* virus-induced liver inflammation
* alcohol abuse
* autoimmune disease
* metabolic defects
* congenital birth defects
* viral/bacterial infections
* trauma, injury
* nutritional deficiencies
In addition to these various causes of liver failure and liver damage, a new and potentially deadly cause has been linked to the consumption of the Ketek prescription drug. Ketek-induced liver failure began being reported by patients of the antibiotic only two years after its release, which occurred in 2004. The drug, which treats upper-respiratory bacterial infections, has been allegedly linked to 18 deaths and more than 100 cases of liver damage.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun investigating Ketek, but the investigation has not resulted in a recall of the drug. Ketek patients who are concerned with the Ketek side effects should speak with their physician about consuming an alternate antibiotic. It is also important that a pharmaceutical law firm is consulted on the dangers of Ketek, as the development of a Ketek lawsuit may be possible.