At a large rate many of us face the complications of the liver, often unable to diagnose the reason, we might have Cirrhosis. It is a late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions, such as hepatitis and chronic alcoholism.
The best part about our livers are it heals itself despite its injuries — whether by disease, excessive alcohol consumption or another cause — it tries to repair itself. In the process, scar tissue forms.
As cirrhosis progresses, more and more scar tissue form, making it difficult for the liver to function (decompensated cirrhosis). Advanced cirrhosis is life-threatening.
The liver damage was done by cirrhosis generally can’t be undone. But if liver cirrhosis is diagnosed early and the cause is treated, further damage can be limited and, rarely, reversed. Often is the case with liver diseases.
Read More: LIVER, LIFESTYLE AND DIABETES
Symptoms of Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis often has no signs or symptoms until liver damage is extensive. Such extensive diseases do feature the below symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Itchy skin
- Yellow discolouration in the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Fluid accumulation in your abdomen (ascites)
- Spiderlike blood vessels on your skin
- Redness in the palms of the hands
- For women, absent or loss of periods not related to menopause
- For men, loss of sex drive, breast enlargement (gynecomastia) or testicular atrophy
- Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy)
- Easily bleeding or bruising
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in your legs, feet or ankles (edema)
Causes of the Cirrhosis
Seemingly, Hepatitis and chronic alcohol abuse are frequent causes. Liver damage caused by cirrhosis can’t be undone, but further damage can be limited.
Initially, there are high chances that patients may experience fatigue, weakness and weight loss. To be aware of the later stages helps patients be prepared or alert at the very symptoms of developing jaundice (yellowing of the skin), gastrointestinal bleeding, abdominal swelling and confusion.
Treatments focus on the underlying cause. In advanced cases, a liver transplant may be required.
Some of the other causes include:
- Liver disease caused by your body’s immune system (autoimmune hepatitis)
- Destruction of the bile ducts (primary biliary cirrhosis)
- Hardening and scarring of the bile ducts (primary sclerosing cholangitis
- Infection, such as syphilis or brucellosis
- Medications, including methotrexate or isoniazid
- Chronic alcohol abuse
- Chronic viral hepatitis (hepatitis B, C and D)
- Fat accumulating in the liver (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease)
- The iron build-up in the body (hemochromatosis)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Copper accumulated in the liver (Wilson’s disease)
- Poorly formed bile ducts (biliary atresia)
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Inherited disorders of sugar metabolism (galactosemia or glycogen storage disease)
- Genetic digestive disorder (Alagille syndrome)
Risk factors of Cirrhosis are rare and, …
- Having viral hepatitis. Not everyone with chronic hepatitis will develop cirrhosis, but it’s one of the world’s leading causes of liver disease.
- A tad bit is excess for the body, however, drinking too much alcohol is a red carpet invite to Cirrhosis. Excessive adulterations are heavy and dangerous to the liver.
- Another common risk factor comes from being overweight. Obesity increases the risk of conditions that may lead to cirrhosis, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.
Complications of cirrhosis can include:
- Can lead to high blood pressure in the veins that supply the liver (portal hypertension).
- Cirrhosis slows down the normal flow of blood through the liver, thus increasing pressure in the vein that brings blood to the liver from the intestines and spleen.
- Abrupt swelling in the legs and abdomen.
- The increased pressure in the portal vein can cause fluid to accumulate in the legs (edema) and in the abdomen (ascites).
- Edema and ascites also may result from the inability of the liver to make enough of certain blood proteins, such as albumin.
- Enlargement of the spleen (splenomegaly).
- Rigorous swelling in the spleen, trapping of white blood cells and platelets is an aftereffect of portal hypertension. Decreased white blood cells and platelets in your blood can be the first sign of cirrhosis.
- Portal hypertension can cause blood to be redirected to smaller veins. Strained by the extra pressure, these smaller veins can burst, causing serious bleeding.
- Portal hypertension may cause enlarged veins (varices) in the esophagus (esophageal varices) or the stomach (gastric varices) and lead to life-threatening bleeding.
- If the liver can’t make enough clotting factors, this also can contribute to continued bleeding.
- If you have cirrhosis, your body may have difficulty fighting infections. Ascites can lead to bacterial peritonitis, a serious infection.
- Cirrhosis may make it more difficult for your body to process nutrients, leading to weakness and weight loss.
Reduce your risk of cirrhosis by taking these steps to care for your liver:
- Do not drink alcohol if you have cirrhosis. If you have liver disease, you should avoid alcohol.
- Eat a healthy diet. Choose a plant-based diet that’s full of fruits and vegetables. Select whole grains and lean sources of protein. Reduce the amount of fatty and fried foods you eat.
- Maintain a healthy weight. An excess amount of body fat can damage your liver. Talk to your doctor about a weight-loss plan if you are obese or overweight.
- Reduce the risk of hepatitis. Sharing needles and having unprotected sex can increase your risk of hepatitis B and C. Ask your doctor about hepatitis vaccinations.
- If you’re concerned about your risk of liver cirrhosis, talk to your doctor about ways you can reduce your risk.