What is Liver Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is scarring of liver tissues where soft health tissues of liver are replaced by hard scar tissues. As the cirrhosis increases or becomes worse, the liver is unable to perform its basic functions and there is increase in resistance for blood flow from the liver the condition is called portal hypertension.
What are the Causes of Liver Cirrhosis?
Liver cirrhosis is caused by long term liver disease damaging the liver. It usually takes many years for liver to get damaged enough that can lead to Cirrhosis. Recognizing and treating live disease early can prevent development of liver cirrhosis. The common causes of Liver Cirrhosis are as follows:
- Hepatitis C
- Hepatitis B
- Fatty Liver Disease
- Some Genetic Diseases (Wilson disease, hemochromatosis, glycogen storage diseases, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, and autoimmune hepatitis)
- Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
- Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
How can alcohol damage the liver?
Excess intake of alcohol leads to liver to swell, which with time develops liver cirrhosis. Even small quantities of alcohol taken for prolonged time can develop liver significant damage to liver.
What are the Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis in Early Stage?
Usually there are no symptoms in early stage of liver cirrhosis. Patients always feels healthy. Unless blood tests and other investigations are done. It may not be possible to detect liver cirrhosis in early stages. Almost 80% of liver should be damaged for the symptoms to appear
What are the Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis at advanced stage?
Symptoms that are observed at the early stage of liver Cirrhosis are as follows:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight Loss
- Abdominal Pain
- Severe Itching
Other Complications that are observed in Liver cirrhosis patient are as follows:
- Jaundice (Yellowing of skin and eyes)
- Bruising and Bleeding easily (nose, gums and skin)
- Edema (Excess water buildup leading to swelling of leg)
- Mental Confusion
- Bloody Vomit
What is Diagnosis of Liver Cirrhosis?
Liver Cirrhosis is usually diagnosed by symptoms, medical history, blood test and physical examination. Ultra sound and CT scan of liver is required. To find out the exact cause of liver cirrhosis and to check how much liver is damaged liver biopsy is done. A small of liver tissue is removed during biopsy with a needle passed in liver. The tissue removed is then studied in laboratory.
What is the treatment of Liver Cirrhosis?
Treatment options for liver cirrhosis depends upon the cause and level of damage to the liver. Depending upon the cause of liver cirrhosis, the medication or lifestyle change is prescribed. The main goal of treatment is to further prevent the liver damage and reduce complications. When the liver cirrhosis can not be treated with medication and lifestyle change, the liver will stop working and then the need of liver transplant arises. It upto the doctor to decide looking at the situation if liver transplant is best option.
What is best way to prevent or manage Liver Cirrhosis?
If liver cirrhosis is managed properly the further damage to the liver can be prevented. Below are few ways to prevent liver cirrhosis
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle – Eat healthy diet and exercise regularly
- Limit Salt – Reduce the salt in the food to prevent and reduce fluid buildup
- Stop Alcohol Consumption
- Consult doctor about all the medications, vitamin and supplements you take
- Consult doctor for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C vaccination
- Regular Blood test to assess the condition of liver
- Regular Ultrasound to detect cancer developing into Cirrhotic liver.