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5 Main Causes of Liver Failure in Aging Adults

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Taking care of the liver is important at any age, but making sure this organ functions properly is especially crucial for people over 65. One of the most effective ways to prevent liver failure is to understand what causes it and remove those factors from the equation. In the following article, Warren, NJ, senior care experts discuss 5 of the top causes of liver failure in the elderly and how to prevent it.

1. Long-Term Alcohol Abuse

The natural process of aging reduces the ability to break down alcohol, which increases the risk of chronic liver failure. This medical condition is especially common among older adults who have abused alcohol for many years or mix alcohol with prescription medications. Healthy seniors should have no more than 7 drinks per week, and those who abuse alcohol must immediately speak with their doctors about professional treatment options. 

2. Malnutrition

Even a senior who follows a healthy diet might not be getting all of the vitamins and nutrients his or her body needs. A damaged liver makes it extremely difficult to absorb nutrients, which further impairs liver function. In many cases, the earliest stages of malnutrition can be taken care of with protein shakes and high-quality multivitamins. 

3. Hepatitis C

Younger adults in relatively good health are often able to live rich and fulfilling lives with hepatitis C. With age, it becomes extremely difficult to fight off the virus without permanently damaging the liver. Any senior who has received a blood transfusion or misused a needle should contact his or her doctor to inquire about hepatitis screening. 

4. Acetaminophen Overdose

The overuse or abuse of powerful chemicals like acetaminophen can cause acute liver failure. Though these products are generally not dangerous when seniors stick to the daily recommended dose, mixing them with other forms of medication could result in liver necrosis. Seniors with chronic discomfort should seek out alternative pain management techniques. 

5. Reactions to Prescription Medication

Drug-induced liver disease is relatively common among seniors who need to take daily medication to combat other medical conditions. This type of chronic liver failure develops when the organ can no longer process the chemicals and the soft tissue becomes damaged. The only way to prevent drug-induced liver disease is to regularly go over medications to see if any could potentially interact with one another.

Healthy living usually requires taking one step at a time and plenty of encouragement from family and friends. The caregivers at Home Care Assistance can also serve as a source of inspiration for your senior loved one. Using our Balanced Care Method (BCM), our caregivers encourage seniors to eat well, exercise regularly, and focus on various other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. In addition to BCM, we also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and dementia care Warren, NJ, families trust. For more information on our elder care services, please call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 908.450.9400 today.