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5 Major Causes of Liver Failure in Older Adults

Not taking proper care of the liver can lead to serious complications and even death. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of home care in Westfield, discusses 5 common causes of liver failure in seniors and offers tips on preventing each cause.

1. Herbal Supplements

Even supplements labeled as “natural” can be dangerous for the liver. For example, an herb called kava kava, which is sometimes used to treat menopausal symptoms, can lead to hepatitis and liver failure. The herb has even been banned in some countries. It is important to consult a doctor before your loved one takes any over-the-counter supplements to ensure they are safe and will not interfere with any prescription medications.

2. Obesity

Being overweight can cause extra fat to build up in your loved one’s liver. This condition, called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, can cause the liver to swell, harden, and develop scar tissue. Diet and regular exercise can help prevent fatty liver disease.

3. Too Much Vitamin A

More is not always better when it comes to vitamin A. This vitamin is an important antioxidant and is essential for the health of various organs, but it is also fat-soluble and can cause liver problems when consumed in excess amounts. Most people get enough vitamin A from dietary sources, so your loved one should check with a doctor before taking any supplements with added vitamin A.

4. Acetaminophen

Aches and pains are often a part of getting older. Most people’s first reaction is to reach for a bottle of pain relievers, but taking medications with too much acetaminophen can harm the liver. When taking acetaminophen, it is important for your loved one to stick to the recommended dosage listed on the bottle. He or she should also take into consideration that many cold, flu, and sinus medications contain acetaminophen.

5. Excessive Alcohol Consumption

A person does not have to be an alcoholic to develop alcohol-related liver damage. Many people consume too much alcohol without even realizing it. A standard serving of alcohol is 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. Senior men should limit their alcohol intake to two servings a day, and older women should have no more than one serving per day.

To learn more about senior health and wellness, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to focus on diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors that can increase their life expectancy. We also offer specialized stroke, Parkinson’s, and dementia care Westfield seniors can rely on. For more information, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 908.450.9400 today.