Cirrhosis, or end-stage liver disease, is a condition in which scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue, impairing the functioning of the liver.
The liver is a vital organ in the human body and is responsible for numerous functions. Many conditions and diseases can damage the liver, causing cirrhosis.
If you have cirrhosis, you need to consult a hepatologist. You can visit the best Hepatologist in Lahore.
What causes cirrhosis?
Many diseases or conditions can ultimately end up in cirrhosis, such as:
- Long term alcohol use
- Having viral hepatitis like hepatitis B, C, and D
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Hemochromatosis- accumulation of iron in the body
- Autoimmune hepatitis- a condition in which immune cells attack the liver
- Cystic fibrosis
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Wilson’s disease- a buildup of copper in the liver
- Biliary atresia- blockage of bile ducts
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis- hardening of bile duct
- Certain medications like acetaminophen, methotrexate or isoniazid
Risk Factors for developing cirrhosis
The factors that can increase the risk of developing cirrhosis are:
- Long term alcohol use
- Being obese
- Having viral hepatitis
Symptoms of cirrhosis
Cirrhosis usually does not show any significant signs and symptoms until much damage to the liver has occurred. When extensive liver damage occurs, t can show symptoms such as:
- Feeling tired
- Easy bleeding
- Loss of appetite
- Yellow discoloration in the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Swelling in your legs, feet, or ankles (edema)
- Weight loss
- Itchy skin
- Accumulation of fluid and swelling in the abdomen
- Presence of spider-like blood vessels on the skin
- Redness in the palms of the hands
- Loss of libido in men
- Breast enlargement in men (gynecomastia)
- Shrinking of the testicles (testicular atrophy)
- Absent periods in women
- Slurred speech
The complications of cirrhosis include:
- High blood pressure in the portal vein (portal hypertension): The portal vein carries blood to the liver from the spleen, stomach, pancreas, and intestines. When the liver becomes scarred, blood in the portal vein can not flow normally, which causes the blood pressure to rise in the portal vein.
- Swelling in the abdomen: High blood pressure in the portal vein causes fluid to leak out in the abdomen, causing swelling.
- Infection of the fluid in the abdomen (spontaneous bacterial peritonitis): Bacteria can grow in the fluid that is accumulated in the abdomen. This infection can spread to different organs, resulting in further complications
- Vomiting blood: High pressure in the portal vein redirects the blood to the veins of the esophagus. These veins are small and can not cope with increased amounts of blood, and they can rupture (esophageal variceal bleeding). When these veins rupture, the patient may vomit blood. Increased bleeding from these veins can be life-threatening
- Bleeding: The liver is responsible for producing coagulation factors- proteins that help control bleeding. When liver function is compromised, the production of coagulation factors becomes affected, resulting in easy bleeding and difficulty in stopping the bleeding.
- Spleen enlargement: Portal hypertension redirects blood to the spleen. When the spleen receives an elevated amount of blood, it increases in size- a condition known as splenomegaly.
- Toxin buildup in the brain (hepatic encephalopathy): The liver removes toxins from the blood. In cirrhosis, these toxins build up in the blood and accumulate in the brain, altering mental states.
- Weak bones: People with cirrhosis develop bone weakening and are at a higher risk of getting bone fractures.
Cirrhosis is a disease that affects the liver and can have serious complications. With timely diagnosis and treatment, cirrhosis can be managed. It is important to consult a hepatologist if you are at risk or notice any signs and symptoms of cirrhosis. You can consult a Hepatologist in Karachi.
- CYCLING FOR WEIGHT LOSS: WORKOUT IDEAS + EXPERT ADVICE - October 14, 2021
- Why website optimization is important for every business growth – Unique ideas learn this year - October 12, 2021
- Cirrhosis-Things You Need To Know - October 11, 2021