Liver cirrhosis – Causes and Symptoms 

What is liver cirrhosis?

The liver is about the size of a regular football and it performs important functions in the body such as filtering toxins from the body, making enzymes that help in digesting food and helping you fight infections. when the liver is damaged, it forms scar tissues as a way to regenerate itself. If there are too many scar tissues in the liver, it cannot function normally. Liver cirrhosis is a medical condition where the scar tissue gradually replaces most healthy liver cells. This condition develops slowly which means it is a progressive disease. Cirrhosis develops mainly because the liver is continuously damaged.

Liver Cirrhosis Treatment is available and the condition can be kept in check only when it is diagnosed early. If the condition is not diagnosed early, the damage done to the liver cannot be fixed or reversed. Liver Cirrhosis usually is caused due to regularly consuming alcohol.

How is it diagnosed?

Tests are conducted by Liver Transplant surgeons through blood tests, physical examinations and imaging. Patients are required to give their medical history and symptoms. Doctors perform a physical examination which helps in diagnosis. The liver may be enlarged and be hard during abdominal examination. Patients who are already diagnosed have regular endoscopy to check for varices in the esophagus. C T scans and MRI scans are also done to check for signs for enlargement in the liver. Doctors may also do liver biopsy to confirm cirrhosis. Laparoscopes are inserted in the abdomen for the doctor to check the liver of the patient. 

What are the symptoms of liver cirrhosis?

There are usually no visible symptoms in the initial stages of this condition. After the initial phase, as the damage increases, the symptoms experienced are;

Loss of appetite

Itchy skin

Weakness

Fatigue

Nausea

Weight loss

No appetite or lack of appetite

Insomnia

Blood capillaries becomes visible

Confusion

Hair loss

Bruises 

Dizziness

Gums start bleeding

Body cannot process drugs and alcohol

Darker urine

Mobility and walking issues

Nose bleeds

Faster heartbeats

Loss of sex drive

Jaundice 

Memory issues

Pain in the right shoulder

Vomiting blood 

Stools appear in abnormal colours

Muscle cramps

Fluid builds up in different body parts

Personality changes

Higher chance of infections 

Increased fevers

Risk factors

You are more likely to get Liver cirrhosis if you;

Have too much alcohol

Do not take care of your health and are obese

Have unprotected sex

Already have another liver disease or liver condition

Have diabetes

Have viral hepatitis

Used shared needles or injections 

The connection between Liver cancer and Liver cirrhosis

While liver cirrhosis is not cancer, people who suffer from liver cancer can develop liver cirrhosis. Liver diseases can cause cirrhosis and those diseases can also lead to liver cancer.

Causes of liver cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis is not the cause but a symptom of another underlying liver condition. The cause of cirrhosis needs to found, otherwise, the liver will get further damaged and not be able to regenerate itself. 

Other conditions that can lead to Liver cirrhosis;

Cystic fibrosis

Too much iron build-up

Wilsons disease

If you have conditions where you cannot process sugar

Digestive disorders 

Certain medications

Autoimmune conditions

Infections such as syphilis and brucellosis 

Bile duct blockage

Liver Cirrhosis Treatment

Make changes in lifestyle

If alcohol is the cause of cirrhosis, the Liver transplant surgeon will advise you to stop drinking and advice you to lose weight.

Medications

Medicines are prescribed on the basis of the kind of cirrhosis you suffer from. Consult a doctor before you start taking medicines. 

Surgery 

A Liver Transplant Surgery is done only if other Liver Cirrhosis treatment options do not work. Liver transplant is one of the last options suggested by a doctor.

Eating a nutritious diet 

A health care provider usually recommends a diet that is well balanced. Liquid supplements are also given which have to be taken orally or through a tube inserted through the nose in worst cases.

Hepatic encephalopathy

This surgery is done for cleaning the bowels with lactulose – a laxative given orally. Patients are asked to have antibiotics if needed and reduce protein intake in this case.

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