I recently wrote an article about parents being made aware of childhood liver diseases. This article is to explain more about the symptoms and about the people who are there to look after you and your child if it ever happens.
When the liver fails, it is often called acute liver failure, this is when the liver stops working suddenly because for some reason the liver cells are damaged. This can be caused by chemicals and viruses. The liver is a vital organ and it has many functions, when the liver is damaged it can make a child very ill. Apart from the brain, the liver is the most complex organ in the body, there are five main causes of liver failure in children, they are:
- an obstruction of the flow of bile out of the liver
- an infection caught before a baby is born, during birth or caught at an early age after birth.
- a metabolic disease—the cause of this is usually genetic, this usually means that is passed from both parents, each carrying a faulty gene at the time of conception, but they can be perfectly well themselves
- drugs and poisons can damage the liver
- poor blood supply
It is not always possible to get a diagnosis of a liver condition, which makes it even harder for parents to come to terms with, this happened to my boy and I still don’t really know what caused his condition. The signs and symptoms of liver diseases are:
- yellow urine
- grey or pale stools
- change of sleep pattern
- vomiting of blood or passing of blood in the stools
- tiredness and loss of stamina
- abdominal swelling which can be caused by an inflamed liver, a large spleen or excess fluid in the abdomin
- poor weight gain
- abdominal pain
There are treatments available; the most common being transplants, medicines and special diets are also used to treat liver problems. There is a lot of support for children and for their parents, the main support coming from a charity called the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation. They are amazing. They raise so much money for this cause and put it together to fund research into liver diseases to try to stop it happening so often. I am writing this article purely for other parents to read and be made aware of this type of illness because in my opinion there is not enough knowledge being given out. I hope I have written enough information for parents just like myself to read and keep in mind.