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Effects of Aging on the Liver

By

Christina C. Lindenmeyer

, MD, Cleveland Clinic

Last full review/revision Oct 2019| Content last modified Jan 2020
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The ability of the liver to metabolize many substances decreases with aging. Thus, some drugs are not inactivated as quickly in older people as they are in younger people. As a result, a drug dose that would not have side effects in younger people may have dose-related side effects in older people (see Aging and Drugs Aging and Drugs Drugs, the most common medical intervention, are an important part of medical care for older people. Without drugs, many older people would function less well or die at an earlier age. Older... read more Aging and Drugs ). Thus, drug dosages often need to be decreased in older people. Also, the liver's ability to withstand stress decreases. Thus, substances that are toxic to the liver can cause more damage in older people than in younger people. Repair of damaged liver cells is also slower in older people.

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Liver Failure
Liver failure is a condition that occurs when a large portion of the liver becomes damaged and unable to function. Sometimes liver failure develops quickly, over several days (acute liver failure); other times, it develops slowly, over months or years (chronic liver failure). There are numerous causes of liver failure. Which of the following is NOT a common cause of liver failure?
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