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Know Everything About Liver Cirrhosis: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

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Liver cirrhosis is the later stage of liver scarring or fibrosis. They can be caused by many factors such as hepatitis or prolonged alcoholism. The liver has a self-repairing mechanism where it repairs itself every time it is injured by various factors like disease or excessive alcohol consumption. The tissues get scarred over time. As the liver gets more and more injured, the formation of scar tissues progresses which in turn leads to the progress of liver cirrhosis.Liver_Cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis can be life-threatening. Though the damage done to the liver cannot be undone, early detection of liver cirrhosis helps to treat it, prevent further damage and at times can be even reversed.

Symptoms:

Symptoms of liver cirrhosis are not easily detected in the initial stages. It is detected only when the liver damage is extensive. The symptoms that are seen in later stages are:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Skin that bruises and bleeds easily
  • Itchy skin
  • Yellowish color in the eyes and in the skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Ascites or fluid accumulation in the abdomen
  • Redness in palms and hands
  • Absence or loss of periods in case of women
  • Loss of sex drive and breast enlargement in case of men
  • Drowsiness, confusion and slurred speech

Causes:

Liver cirrhosis can be caused by a variety of factors that continuously cause damage to your liver. Some of these causes are enumerated below:

  • Chronic alcohol abuse
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver ( fat accumulating in the liver)
  • Iron buildup in the body
  • Copper accumulated in the liver
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Poorly formed bile ducts
  • Inherited disorders of sugar metabolism
  • Autoimmune liver diseases
  • Hardening and scarring of liver ducts
  • Infections like syphilis
  • Medications like methotrexate and isoniazid
  • Obesity

Risk factors:

Liver cirrhosis does not happen overnight. The risk factors for liver cirrhosis are:

  • Too much alcohol: Excessive consumption of alcohol may lead to the formation of liver cirrhosis.
  • Overweight: Being obese increases your risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis that may develop into liver cirrhosis.
  • Viral hepatitis: Though all cases of hepatitis do not progress into cirrhosis, it is one of the leading causes of liver cirrhosis. Harvoni is used to treat hepatitis.

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Complications:

Liver cirrhosis can lead to a lot of other complications that include:

  • Portal hypertension: Portal hypertension refers to the development of high pressure in the veins that supply the liver. The flow of blood is slowed down. Hence, the pressure in the vein increases.
  • Edema and ascites: The increase of pressure in the portal results in the collection of fluid in the legs and abdomen. They are termed as edema and ascites respectively. Ascites develops when the liver does not make blood proteins like albumin.
  • Bleeding: Portal hypertension exerts pressure on smaller blood vessels. These blood vessels may burst due to the extra pressure and cause bleeding. Portal hypertension may also cause enlargement of veins in the esophagus or stomach. The liver may at times fail to make enough clotting factors. This may also lead to continuous bleeding.
  • Splenomegaly: Enlargement of spleen or splenomegaly may be seen. White blood cells and platelets are not transported effectively. In fact, decreased white blood count and platelet count is at times the first sign of liver cirrhosis.
  • Infection: Development of cirrhosis makes your body more susceptible to infections. Ascites may lead to the formation of bacterial peritonitis.
  • Malnutrition: Cirrhosis renders the body incapable of processing nutrients which leads to weight loss and weakness.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy: Toxins may be accumulated in the brain as the liver becomes incapable of clearing out toxins from the body. The patient may become unresponsive and slip into a coma.
  • Risk of liver cancer: Cirrhosis can worsen and develop into liver cancer in some patients.

Prevention:

  • You can reduce your risk of developing liver cirrhosis by taking these simple steps:
  • Completely avoid alcohol if you have underlying liver disease or condition.
  • Make sure you consume a healthy diet. Your diet should contain a lot of fruits and vegetables. Reduce the consumption of fatty and fried food items.
  • Obesity is harmful to several organs of the body including the liver. Therefore it is necessary to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid sharing needles. Do not have unprotected sex. This increases your chances of getting hepatitis. Harvoni drug is used to treat hepatitis.

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Mila Jones is a Senior Business Consultant, with rich experience in the domains of technology consulting and strategy, she works with both established technology brands and market entrants to offer research inputs and insights on leveraging technology as a source of strategic competitive advantage. She is a prolific author and shares her expertise with tech enthusiasts on popular digital publishing platforms. She loves not only to write about several topics but also loves to explore new ideas about Lifestyle, Travel blogs and many more.

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