Liver cirrhosis refers to the scarring of healthy liver tissues due to long-term illnesses or injury. The healthy liver cells and tissues are replaced by scar tissues that cannot perform normal physiological functions and lead to health problems. The liver is the heaviest organ in the human body and performs vital functions like detoxification, enzyme, and vitamin synthesis, stores nutrients, and fights various infections.
Liver Cirrhosis Causes
Underlying liver diseases or grave injury to the liver can trigger liver cirrhosis. Some of the common causes are:
Viral infections: Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C cause chronic liver infections.
Alcohol abuse: Prolonged alcohol drinking can harm your liver.
Inherited diseases: Cystic fibrosis, Wilson's disease, and hemochromatosis affect the liver cells and liver storage functions.
Autoimmune diseases: Certain diseases can direct the body's immune system to attack the liver cells.
Cross-reactions: Side effects of certain medications can affect the liver and its detoxification processes.
Liver Cirrhosis Symptoms
The signs and symptoms can vary in individuals. Some of the common ones are:
Loss of Appetite
Fatigue and Dizziness
Unexpected Weight Loss
Swelling in Feet and Ankles
A Yellowish Tint to the Skin and Eyes
Fluid Build-up in the Abdomen
Loss of Libido
Premature Menopause in Women
Severe Muscle Cramps in the Abdomen Region
Stages of Liver Cirrhosis
The cirrhosis of the liver treatment depends upon the stage of prognosis. According to the doctor and healthcare experts, you could have
Compensated liver cirrhosis: You may test positive for liver cirrhosis without noticeable symptoms. In such cases, liver biopsy is the only option to confirm the prognosis of the condition.
Decompensated liver cirrhosis: Refers to the worsened condition of your liver and all the noticeable symptoms. You may have to get hospitalized to undergo further treatments. It usually indicates that the healthy cells have deteriorated, affecting the liver functioning.
Diagnosis Test for Liver Cirrhosis
There are several tests to confirm liver cirrhosis. The liver specialist will perform a physical test, prescribe blood tests, imaging scans, and biopsy (if required) to determine the prognosis and confirm liver cirrhosis. A blood test with a CT scan or an MRI detects the condition and helps the doctor discuss appropriate treatment.
Cirrhosis of the Liver Treatment
The liver cirrhosis treatment plan depends upon the severity of the condition. Though liver cirrhosis is incurable, the symptoms are treated successfully.
Alcohol anonymous program
Your doctor will strictly suggest you stop consuming alcohol (if applicable) as a part of your treatment.
Vaccinations and medicines
Get timely shots against hepatitis and other chronic infections. If you are prescribed medication, take them on time.
For autoimmune diseases
Steroid drugs can help reduce inflammation and other effects caused due to the immune system attacking your liver cells.
The fluid build-up in the body can be reduced by several diuretics and antibiotic combinations.
The surgical procedure liver transplant is usually the last option in the case of liver failure.
Clear all your doubts regarding the treatment duration, risks, and complications, with the best cirrhosis doctor before starting the treatment. BLK-MAX provides the best liver cirrhosis treatment in Delhi.
Risk Factor of Liver Cirrhosis
The chances of liver cirrhosis increase in the case of
Chronic alcoholism: Alcohol addicts have a high risk of liver cirrhosis.
Chronic hepatitis infection: The viral infection affects the hepatocytes and the normal functions of the liver.
Fatty liver condition: Severe lifestyle diseases can be a trigger for liver cirrhosis
Hereditary: inherited liver problems cannot be cured and can cause liver problems even at a younger age.
Liver Cirrhosis Prevention
Primary Prevention of Liver Cirrhosis
With preventive measures, we can eliminate the major risks of liver cirrhosis.
Vaccination: Timely vaccination against hepatitis is crucial to prevent chronic infections of the liver.
Avoid alcohol: One of the major contributing factors of liver cirrhosis is alcohol. Avoid frequent consumption of alcohol to protect your liver.
Secondary Prevention of Liver Cirrhosis
If you are recovering from the initial stages of liver cirrhosis, follow proper instructions from the doctor.
Diet control: Eat a healthy diet with less salt and more protein content.
Healthy hygiene: Keep yourself clean and avoid unnecessary infections.
Healthy living: Do regular exercises and maintain healthy body weight.
Timely medication: If your doctor has prescribed medicines, do not stop or start new ones without consultation.
Possible Complications of Liver Cirrhosis
The blood flow in the portal vein is disturbed due to the scarred cells and tissues. It increases the blood pressure in the major blood vessels causing its rupture and internal bleeding. It can also cause hepatopulmonary syndrome, where the dilation of the blood vessels in the lungs may lead to breathing issues. The damaged liver is unable to detoxify toxins. They may circulate freely in the bloodstream and affect brain functions. Severe progression of cirrhosis can cause liver carcinoma.
Epidemiology of Liver Cirrhosis
Liver cirrhosis typically affects adults, known to be alcohol addicts and suffering from other liver problems. It can affect both males and females. Children and adults are also at greater risk of suffering from liver cirrhosis if they have inherent liver problems, hepatitis infections, or had serious liver injuries. The symptoms should not be neglected and get an immediate medical opinion.
Expected Prognosis of Liver Cirrhosis
People with early-stage cirrhosis can manage their condition with medicines. However, without proper treatment, the risk of liver cancer increases along with additional health complications. The condition may also impact other body organs such as the spleen, kidneys, lungs, and blood vessels, causing internal infections.
Natural Progression of Liver Cirrhosis
Liver cirrhosis may take 20 to 30 years to develop and is called a slow-acting disease. The natural progression of cirrhosis is based on the overall health of the patient, causes, lifestyle habits, and genetic factors. The initial stages can be asymptomatic. However, as the disease progresses, portal hypertension and liver dysfunctions prevail.
Pathophysiology of Liver Cirrhosis
Liver cirrhosis affects the homeostasis of the body. The biochemical changes are detected via blood tests. Increased liver-specific enzymes and bilirubin, decreased blood proteins, possible hepatitis infection, or autoimmune liver diseases confirm liver cirrhosis. The healthy cells degenerate and undergo necrosis. The scarred cells affect the production of blood clotting factors, detoxifying drugs, and toxins. The physical changes appear in the form of symptoms affecting overall health.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How does cirrhosis affect my liver and body?
Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver tissue due to long-term damage. It impairs liver function, leading to problems with digestion, detoxification, blood clotting, and nutrient processing. It can cause symptoms like fatigue, jaundice, swelling, and increased vulnerability to infections.
2. How common is cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is a significant global health issue. It's a common outcome of chronic liver diseases and is a leading cause of liver-related complications and mortality worldwide.
3. Can cirrhosis of the liver be reversed or cured?
In the early stages and with proper treatment of the underlying cause, some liver damage due to cirrhosis can be reversed.
4. What tests are suggested for diagnosing Cirrhosis?
Diagnostic tests for cirrhosis include blood tests (liver function, clotting factors), imaging (ultrasound, CT, MRI), and sometimes a liver biopsy to assess liver tissue for scarring and damage.
5. Does quitting alcohol help with liver disease?
Yes, quitting alcohol can significantly help slow or even halt the progression of liver disease, including cirrhosis, and improve liver health.