Things to know:
- Cirrhosis is a liver disease for which treatment can help, but the condition cannot be cured
- Progressive liver damage can lead to liver failure
- Cirrhosis is detected when healthy liver tissues are severely scarred, which leads to the risk of losing the liver’s ability to function
Cirrhosis is a late-stage liver condition in which the healthy tissues of the liver are replaced by severely scarred tissues which cause incurable damage to the liver. These severely scarred tissues of the liver disrupt the liver’s ability to function correctly.
These excellent and healthy liver tissues can be damaged due to several diseases and conditions. The only solution is that the treatment can only help manage the condition, but the damaged liver cannot be completely cured.
The scared tissues reduce the liver’s ability to metabolize essential nutrients and provide all hormones needed by the liver to function correctly.
Stages of Cirrhosis of the Liver
If an individual is diagnosed with Cirrhosis, it clearly means they are way past the early stages of Cirrhosis. As your healthcare expert may explain, it is easier to classify the cirrhosis stage.
Compensated Cirrhosis is when you don’t have any visible symptoms, and it’s possible that your test results and imaging do not show anything concerning. The patient might have to go through a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of Cirrhosis.
Decompensation cirrhosis takes place when the condition is so severe that it becomes difficult for the liver to function at an average pace. If the damage is severe, the doctor will see how the liver tissues have been scarred through a biopsy.
Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis
Though the symptoms of Cirrhosis depend on the stage of the liver disease. Symptoms of each individual may also be different in each stage. Below are some general symptoms that should not be mistaken for any other illnesses:-
- Internal bleeding
- Swollen legs and stomach
- Feeling fatigued
- Weight loss or malnutrition
- Poor appetite
- Itchy skin
- Redness on the hands
- Easy bruising on the skin
- Hepatic encephalopathy
- Jaundice (yellowish skin and eyes)
Causes of Cirrhosis
There can be multiple diseases and conditions which could lead to liver failure.
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Accumulation of fat
- Cystic fibrosis
- Biliary atresia
- Disease caused due to body’s low immune system
- Biliary Cirrhosis
- Digestive disorder due to genetics
- Certain medications
- Hepatitis B, C and D
- Accumulation of copper in the liver
Complications of Liver Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis can lead to certain complications for which the patient may require immediate assistance:-
Swollen Legs and Belly
The pressure in the veins can cause the fluid to accumulate in the legs and the belly making it difficult for the person to walk normally. Accumulation of fluid in the legs is called oedema, and fluid in the stomach is called ascites. Both oedema and ascites may affect the liver’s ability the make enough proteins needed for the healthy functioning of the liver.
Due to hypertension, the blood can get to the smaller veins, and these tiny veins can explode if they are suffocated due to increased pressure. Portal hypertension can lead to life-threatening bleeding by enlarging veins in the esophagus or the stomach.
Cirrhosis can make it challenging for your body to fight infections, due to which the liver might be affected with severe scars.
Cirrhosis can make it harder for your body to assimilate nutrition, resulting in weakness and weight loss.
If Cirrhosis is in its early stages, it might be possible to minimize the damage caused to the liver due to the underlying disease.
- People who are diagnosed with Cirrhosis due to excessive drinking should try to stop it immediately because any amount of alcohol would have severe effects on the liver
- People who are diagnosed with Cirrhosis due to being overweight should try to control their weight. If they lose some fat and control their sugar levels, it might help them to keep their liver damage under control.
- Consult your specialist if, due to any certain medication, your liver cells are being damaged
- Using the right medication may help to control the progressive damage to the liver
The 4 stages of Cirrhosis of the liver are Inflammation and swelling, Fibrosis, Cirrhosis, and Liver Failure.
The first sign of Cirrhosis is feeling tired, loss of appetite, nausea, weight loss, and swelling in the legs and belly.
No, Cirrhosis cannot be cured, but the condition can be managed if diagnosed at an early stage.
If slightly swollen, you may not feel it but may have a feeling of fullness and discomfort you may realize that your liver is severely swollen.