Liver cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis is a slow progressive disease and a late stage where healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue and the liver can no longer function properly. Fibrosis, or scarring develops into cirrhosis, The scar tissue blocks the flow of blood from traveling through the liver and slows the natural flow of nutrients, hormones and drugs. Production of protein and other materials made by the liver are also slowed.

Liver cirrhosis Drugs

Corticosteroids:

Liver cirrhosis Symptoms

As indicated, liver cirrhosis usually has no symptoms in the early stages. After years, symptoms and complications tend to arise. There are 2 distinct circumstances that reveal liver disease symptoms: 1) the scarring of the liver over the course of years causes the liver to take on a deformed shape and 2) ongoing liver disease, excessive scar tissue and gradual cirrhosis, results in the liver’s inability to perform its natural functions. Common symptoms:

  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite resulting in weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Extreme itchiness due to breakdown of bile
  • Spider blood vessels

Symptoms typically revealed through complications:

  • Jaundice – yellowed skin and whites of the eyes
  • Gallstones
  • Fluid buildup, edema and ascites
  • Easily bruised and bleed easily
  • Fluid build-up with painful swelling of legs and abdomen, edema and ascites
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Fever
  • Blood in vomit or feces from varicose veins that bleed from liver congestion
  • Wasting, loss of muscle mass
  • Gynecomastia in men and in women abnormal menses, both due to impaired hormone productions and metabolism
  • Bleeding from gums or nose
  • Encephalopathy – confusion, delirium or hallucinations from build-up of toxins and drugs in the blood
  • Sensitivity to medication due to the liver’s inability to filter medication from the blood

Liver cirrhosis Causes

Liver cirrhosis is caused by long-term, chronic liver disease, over the course of many years. Liver cirrhosis has many causes but the single most common cause is alcoholism. Viral hepatitis type C and a fatty liver are among the 2 additional most common causes of liver cirrhosis. A fatty liver is usually related to obesity and diabetes. NASH, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is, as indicated, a non-alcoholic liver disease, characterized by a swollen liver with the presence of comorbidities However, anything that damages the liver, left untreated, can cause liver cirrhosis. Hard scar tissue that replaces soft healthy liver tissue, eventually with insufficient healthy tissue, the liver will be unable to perform its functions or will not perform adequately, resulting in liver failure. Causes of liver cirrhosis and liver failure:

  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Chronic viral hepatitis
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (nonalcoholic fatty liver)
  • Genetic diseases (inherited)
  • Bile duct disease (biliary cirrhosis)
  • Cardiac cirrhosis
  • Drugs, toxins and infections

Liver cirrhosis Diagnosis

Often, early stage liver cirrhosis has no symptoms. A blood test can identify elevated liver enzymes in labs for SGOT, SGPT and bilirubin, clotting factor is checked with INR and prothrombin time tests. Ultrasound, CT scan and MRI image the liver and magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) can detect hardening or stiffening of the liver. A biopsy, cutting a small tissue sample of the liver, for laboratory analysis can identify the severity and cause of liver damage or cirrhosis.

Liver cirrhosis Treatment

Liver cirrhosis, cannot be cured but it can be treated. Treatment for liver cirrhosis may stop or slow the progression of the disease, as well as the related complications. The required treatment is contingent upon the causes and the complications. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism, over the course of many years, often contributes to liver cirrhosis. Stopping the use of alcohol is a home remedy for harm reduction. Eliminating use of acetaminophen and ibuprofen, which also harm the liver and kidneys, can reduce harm. Treatment, for many causes of liver cirrhosis, is medication. Hepatitis, which is often caught from someone with the disease is treated with medications. Treatment of the complications associated with liver cirrhosis such as edema or ascites, excess retention of fluids, is treated with a low sodium diet and often medications. Portal hypertension, excess pressure on the veins that supply the liver can be treated with blood pressure medications and help minimize enlarged veins in the esophagus and stomach that may bleed. A band ligation procedure can stop the bleeding if medication is not tolerated or is unsuccessful. In severe cases, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) is placed in the vein to reduce blood pressure in the liver. In instances of advanced liver cirrhosis and loss of liver function, a liver transplant is required, either from a recently deceased compatible donor or a piece of a live donor’s compatible liver.