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Home > Symptoms > Liver Cirrhosis Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment | Max Lab

Liver Cirrhosis Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment | Max Lab

Liver Cirrhosis Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment | Max Lab

Overview of Liver Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a late-stage result of liver disease, and it's caused by several different complications. By the time symptoms show up, you may have advanced liver damage. The most common causes are alcohol abuse, hepatitis, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Treatment will vary depending on the cause of cirrhosis and how much damage is present in the liver. A liver transplant may be the only option in case of liver failure.

What is Liver Cirrhosis?

Liver Cirrhosis is a very serious condition in which the liver's healthy tissue is replaced with scar tissue. The liver becomes permanently damaged and stops functioning properly. Scar tissue gets in the way of normal liver function. Scar tissue blocks the blood flow to your liver, which slows its ability to process nutrients. In turn, this causes the liver to make less protein and other substances that it normally produces. The condition eventually becomes life-threatening.

Many liver diseases and conditions can result in injuries or damage to healthy cells, leading to cell death and inflammation. This is followed by a cell repair process which eventually leaves tissue scarring.

Types of Cirrhosis

There are four main types of cirrhosis: alcoholic, biliary, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

  • Alcoholic cirrhosis is the most common type of cirrhosis in India. It occurs when chronic alcohol abuse damages the liver. Alcoholic cirrhosis can lead to a build-up of fat in the liver, inflammation, and scarring.
  • Biliary cirrhosis is a rare form of cirrhosis that occurs when bile ducts inside the liver become damaged. Fluid called bile aids in the body's digestion of lipids. When bile ducts are damaged, bile can build up in the liver and cause damage.
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis is another rare form of cirrhosis. It occurs when the bile ducts become inflamed and blocked. This can happen as a result of an autoimmune disease or viral infection.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a type of cirrhosis that occurs when there is too much fat in the liver. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can be caused by obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, or other factors.

Signs and Symptoms of Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease that is characterized by the replacement of healthy liver tissue with scar tissue. The scarring of the liver caused by cirrhosis can lead to a number of symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue: Fatigue is a common symptom of cirrhosis, and it can be debilitating. It can make it hard to carry out everyday activities and can interfere with work and social life. If you’re experiencing fatigue, talk to your doctor. There are treatments that can help manage this symptom.
  • Loss of appetite: Cirrhosis can lead to a loss of appetite. This may be due to the liver not being able to produce enough of the enzymes needed for digestion, or it may be caused by the build-up of toxins in the body. Cirrhosis can also cause nausea and vomiting, which can further contribute to a loss of appetite. If you are experiencing a loss of appetite, it is important to talk to your doctor so that they can determine the cause and provide you with treatment options.
  • Dark urine: If you have cirrhosis, your urine may be darker in color. This is because your liver is not able to process bilirubin correctly. Bilirubin is a yellowish substance that is produced when your body breaks down red blood cells. When it builds up in your body, it can cause your skin and the whites of your eyes to turn yellow (jaundice). It can also make your urine dark.
  • Itchy skin: The most common symptom of cirrhosis is itchy skin. The itchiness is caused by the build-up of bile in the liver. When the liver is unable to process bile properly, it backs up into the bloodstream and causes an itching sensation.

It's crucial to consult a doctor right away if you or someone you know is suffering any of these signs. Cirrhosis is a serious condition that can be fatal if not properly treated.

Diagnosing Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a chronic, progressive liver disease. It is characterized by the replacement of healthy liver tissue with scar tissue. This scarring prevents the liver from functioning properly and can lead to serious health problems.

There are many possible causes of cirrhosis, but the most common are chronic alcohol abuse and hepatitis C. Other causes include fatty liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis, and certain medications.

Cirrhosis often has no symptoms in its early stages. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, weight loss, yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and easy bruising. In its advanced stages, cirrhosis can cause fluid build-up in the abdomen (ascites), mental confusion (hepatic encephalopathy), kidney failure, bleeding disorders, and death.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor so that he or she can order tests to check for liver damage. Blood tests can show evidence of liver damage or inflammation. An ultrasound or CT scan can sometimes detect cirrhosis. A biopsy is the only way to definitively diagnose cirrhosis. In a biopsy, a small piece of liver tissue is removed and examined under a microscope for evidence of scarring.

If you are diagnosed with cirrhosis, it is important to get treatment as soon as possible to slow the progression of the disease and improve your chances of survival

Treatment Options for Cirrhosis

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for cirrhosis, as the best approach depends on the underlying cause of the condition. In some cases, treating the underlying cause can reverse or improve the damage done to the liver. In other cases, however, the damage is irreversible, and treatment focuses on managing symptoms and preventing further liver damage.

Treatment options for cirrhosis include:

  • Treating the underlying cause: If cirrhosis is caused by a viral infection such as hepatitis C, treatment with antiviral medications may be able to reverse or improve liver damage. If cirrhosis is caused by excessive alcohol consumption, abstaining from alcohol is essential to stopping further liver damage.
  • Managing symptoms: Cirrhosis can cause a range of symptoms, including fatigue, nausea, weight loss, and jaundice. Treatment options for managing these symptoms include lifestyle changes, such as exercise and dietary changes; and medications, such as pain relievers and antinausea medications.
  • Preventing further liver damage: Once cirrhosis has developed, it is important to take steps to prevent further liver damage. This includes avoiding alcohol completely; eating a healthy diet; maintaining a healthy weight; and avoiding drugs that can damage the liver. In some cases, additional treatments may be necessary, such as regular monitoring by a doctor or surgery to remove part of the damaged liver (liver transplant).

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