Diseases of the liver are a major cause of morbidity and mortality.The answer to your question I think depends on the extent of disease that is affecting the liver.
Cirrhosis of the liver is common, this is when the organ develops fatty infiltrates due to chronic alcoholism. The efficiency is damaged and normal physiology is lost. Cirrhosis may or may not develop into fulminant liver failure. Some people live with this condition for many years.
Liver failure, on the other hand, is almost always fatal. The damaged organ losses elasticity and becomes unable to filter toxins from the blood. These toxins accumulate, ammonia levels rise intravascularly, delirium soon follows as does coma and death. In addition, coagulopathies develop which lead to hemorrhage, the patient slowly bleeds to death.
Liver disease is really a broad term for many different ailments that affect the liver. As far as life span goes, it really depends on what specific ailment the individual has and how well they take care of themselves. It is also important that people with liver disease see their doctors on a regular basis.
Here are some of the diseases that affect the liver:
- Wilson's Disease
- Gilbert's Syndrome
People with liver disease need bed rest, lots of water to stay hydrated and the avoidance of alcohol and certain medications. Many times a person with chronic liver disease need a liver transplant.
It all depends on the nature and stage of liver disease.If the disease is caused by viral hepatitis(chiefly hcv), and it is detected late when fibrosis/cirrhosis has set in, and the viral therapy is either not done or not advised, the prognosis must be poor. If the disease is diagnosed early and viral therapy is successfully carried out, the patient can live on for ten years or more. In case of liver cancer(hepato-cellular carcinoma) or Cirrhosis(stage 3) the chance of cure or long survival is very poor. Liver transplant is the only option left for the patient at the end stage liver disease.