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Liver Cirrhosis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Sep 12, 2023

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Causes Of Liver Cirrhosis

Symptoms Of Liver Cirrhosis

Risk Factors For Liver Cirrhosis

Diagnosis Of Liver Cirrhosis

Treatment Of Liver Cirrhosis

Prevention Of Liver Cirrhosis

Complications Of Liver Cirrhosis

Liver Cirrhosis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Cirrhosis causes a significant amount of liver scarring. This serious illness can be exacerbated by a wide range of liver diseases and disorders, including hepatitis and chronic alcoholism.

Whatever can be the cause of the damage which may include  too much alcohol use, an illness, or another factor where your liver works to repair itself, anytime it sustains harm. Throughout the process, scar tissue forms. The liver's capacity is hampered by the accumulation of scar tissue as cirrhosis progresses. It is lethal to have advanced cirrhosis.

Liver damage from cirrhosis typically is permanent. However, more damage can be avoided if liver cirrhosis is detected early and the underlying cause is treated. There is a small chance that it can be treated.

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Causes Of Liver Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis can be caused by a variety of illnesses and disorders that can harm the liver. Some of the causes are as follows:

  • Long-term drinking.
  • Hepatitis B, C, and D are persistent viral liver diseases.
  • A disorder in which fat builds up in the liver is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Iron accumulation in the body is a symptom of hemochromatosis.
  • Autoimmune hepatitis is a liver illness brought on by the immune system of the body.
  • Primary biliary cholangitis is the cause of the bile ducts' destruction.
  • The primary sclerosing cholangitis hardens and scars the bile ducts.
  • Copper builds up in the liver in Wilson's disease, a disorder.
  • Cystic fibrosis.
  • Inadequate alpha-1 antitrypsin.
  • Biliary atresia is the medical term for poorly constructed bile ducts.
  • Abnormalities of the sugar metabolism that are inherited, such as galactosemia and glycogen storage disease.
  • An inherited digestive ailment called Alagille syndrome.
  • Infection, such as brucellosis or syphilis.
  • Pharmaceuticals, such as isoniazid or methotrexate.

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Symptoms Of Liver Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis frequently goes unnoticed until serious liver damage has occurred.If symptoms do manifest, they may include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Bruising or bleeding easily.
  • Decrease in appetite.
  • Nausea.
  • Edema is also known as swelling of the legs, feet, or ankles.
  • Loss of weight.
  • Rough skin.
  • Jaundice 
  • Fluid accumulation in the abdomen
  • The skin's blood vessels resemble spiders.
  • The palms of the hands are red.
  • Fingernails with a pale color, particularly on the thumb and index finger.
  • When clubbing, the fingertips widen apart and take on a more rounded form.
  • Loss or absence of menstruation for women unrelated to menopause.
  • Reduction in sex desire, testicular atrophy, gynecomastia, or breast augmentation.

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Risk Factors For Liver Cirrhosis

Below are mentioned some of the risk factors of liver cirrhosis:

  • Excessive alcoholism Alcoholism is a risk factor for cirrhosis.
  • Being fat. Obesity raises the likelihood of developing cirrhosis-causing disorders such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
  • Viral hepatitis. Although not all people with chronic hepatitis will develop cirrhosis, it is one of the main causes of liver disease globally.

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Diagnosis Of Liver Cirrhosis

The majority of individuals with early-stage liver cirrhosis don't have any symptoms. Cirrhosis is typically discovered for the first time during a regular blood test or checkup. To support a diagnosis, a combination of laboratory and imaging tests are frequently carried out.

Tests Your doctor may advise performing one or more of the following tests to evaluate your liver:

  • Laboratory tests. Your doctor could suggest blood testing to check for signs of liver failure such as increased bilirubin levels or certain enzymes. In order to determine the condition of your kidneys, your blood is tested for creatinine. Your blood count would be examined. Hepatitis virus tests will be performed on you. Your international normalized ratio (INR) is also used to gauge your blood's ability to clot.
  • Your doctor may be able to determine the root cause of cirrhosis based on your medical history and the results of blood testing. Blood tests can be done to assess the severity of your cirrhosis.
  • Testing using images. It could be advised to have imaging tests like magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) or transient performed. These non-invasive imaging examinations look for liver hardness or stiffening. Other imaging procedures including MRI, CT, and ultrasound are also an option.
  • Biopsy. Having a diagnosis a biopsy or tissue sample is necessary. To ascertain the severity of the liver damage and what is causing it, your doctor may utilize it, though.

Your doctor may recommend routine testing if you have cirrhosis to check for complications, such as liver cancer and esophageal varices, or to see whether the liver disease has progressed. Noninvasive diagnostics for monitoring liver disease are becoming more widely available.

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Treatment Of Liver Cirrhosis

How you treat your cirrhosis depends on the type and extent of your liver impairment. The goal of treatment is to reduce the formation of scar tissue in the liver while simultaneously preventing or treating the symptoms and side effects of cirrhosis. It's possible that you'll need to be admitted to the hospital if you have severe liver damage.

Treatment for the underlying illness that causes cirrhosis

The damage to the liver in early cirrhosis may be diminished by treating the underlying cause. The options are as follows:

  • Addiction treatment for alcohol. Cirrhosis patients who overuse alcohol should try to limit their intake. If you're having problems quitting drinking, your doctor may be able to recommend a course for treating alcohol addiction. Given that alcohol harms the liver at any concentration, ceasing drinking is essential if you have cirrhosis.
  • Losing weight. If they reduce weight and regulate their blood sugar levels, those with cirrhosis brought on by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease may get healthier.
  • Hepatitis-controlling drugs. Through the targeted treatment of these viruses, medications may prevent the further harm that hepatitis B or C causes to liver cells.
  • Medications to treat further cirrhosis causes and symptoms. Some types of liver cirrhosis may be treated with medicine to delay their progression. If primary biliary cholangitis is diagnosed and treated at an early stage, the progression of cirrhosis can be significantly slowed.
  • Other drugs can be used to treat particular symptoms like pain, fatigue, and itching. Nutritional supplements may be used to address malnutrition brought on by cirrhosis. Additionally, supplements can help prevent osteoporosis, which is marked by brittle bones.

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Prevention Of Liver Cirrhosis

By performing the following care measures for your liver, you can reduce your risk of developing cirrhosis:

  • Stop Alcohol Consumption if you have cirrhosis, avoid drinking alcohol. You shouldn't drink alcohol if you have liver illness.
  • Maintain a balanced diet. Pick a fruit and vegetable-rich diet. Pick lean sources of protein and healthy carbohydrates. Reduce your intake of fried and fatty foods.
  • Keep a healthy weight. Your liver can become damaged if you have too much body fat. If you are overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about a weight-loss strategy.
  • Lower your hepatitis risk. Hepatitis B and C risk can be boosted by sharing needles and engaging in unprotected sex. Inquire with your doctor about getting vaccinated against hepatitis.

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Complications Of Liver Cirrhosis

The following are examples of cirrhosis complications:

  • Excessive blood pressure in the liver's blood vessels. Portal hypertension is the medical term for this ailment. The normal blood flow through the liver is slowed by cirrhosis. As a result, the vein that carries blood to the liver experiences increased pressure.
  • Abdomen and leg swelling. Fluid can build up in the legs (called edema) and the belly (called ascites) as a result of the elevated portal vein pressure. If the liver is unable to produce enough of specific blood proteins like albumin, edema and ascites may also develop.
  • Enlargement of the spleen. The spleen may become engorged with platelets and white blood cells as a result of portal hypertension. Splenomegaly, a condition where the spleen enlarges, results from this. The first indication of cirrhosis may be a decrease in platelets and white blood cells in your blood.
  • Bleeding. Blood may be diverted to smaller veins as a result of portal hypertension. The additional pressure could put strain on these tiny veins, causing them to rupture and cause serious bleeding. Portal hypertension can also cause varices, also referred to as bulging veins in the esophagus or stomach. It is also possible to die from the bleeding caused by these varices. Continuous bleeding may also be a result of the liver's failure to create enough clotting components.
  • Infections. If you have cirrhosis, your body might have problems fighting infections. Ascites can lead to bacterial peritonitis, a potentially harmful infection.
  • Malnutrition. Cirrhosis may make it more difficult for your body to metabolize nutrients, which can lead to weariness and weight loss.
  • Toxic buildup in the brain. Cirrhosis damages the liver, making it less effective in removing toxins from the blood than a healthy liver. Then, as these toxins build up in the brain, they may cause attention deficit disorder and mental confusion. The medical name for this is hepatic encephalopathy. Coma or irresponsibility may develop as a result of hepatic encephalopathy. jaundice. When your damaged liver fails to remove enough bilirubin, a blood waste product, from your blood, jaundice develops. The skin, eye whites, and urine all turn yellow due to jaundice.
  • Bone disease. Some cirrhotic individuals experience bone thinning and an increased risk of fractures.
  • Increased chance of liver cancer. Cirrhosis is present in many patients with liver cancer.
  • Cirrhosis,  both acute and persistent. Multiorgan failure occurs in some persons. Researchers now think that this is a problem that some cirrhotic persons experience. They don't really comprehend the root of it, though.

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