What Is Cirrhosis of Liver?
Cirrhosis of the liver is a result of a long-term liver damage which causes liver scarring. Healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue that in turn affects the functioning of the liver. This damage is irreversible and eventually can progress to liver failure where the liver stops functioning entirely.
What Are The Common Causes For Cirrhosis of Liver?
The most common causes of Liver Cirrhosis are:
-Alcohol misuse or abuse
-Infection with Hepatitis C or Hepatitis B
-Non alcoholic steatohepatitis (that causes fat to accumulate in the liver)
-Damage to bile ducts
The inability of the body to handle iron and copper. These include Wilson’s disease and hemochromatosis.
-Medications such as acetaminophen, certain antibiotics, and some antidepressants.
Obesity, age, and gender also adversely increase the risk for Liver Cirrhosis.
How Would You Know If You Have Cirrhosis of Liver ?
There are very few symptoms in the early stages of liver cirrhosis. However, as there is a loss of liver function you may experience following symptoms:
-Loss of appetite
-Vomiting of blood
-Fluid retention in the legs and abdomen
How Can Cirrhosis of Liver Be Diagnosed ?
The doctor may suggest you a liver biopsy for an effective diagnosis. He may examine you physically and ask you for a complete family history. He would suggest certain tests to diagnose and validate the disease, such as:
-Complete blood count (CBC), Coagulation blood test, Albumin test, Liver function tests.
-Ultrasound of the liver
-MRI of the abdomen
-CT scan of the abdomen
Can Cirrhosis of Liver Be Treated? What Are Effective Ways To Manage It Better?
No, a damaged liver cannot be treated completely, however, the symptoms can be managed with medications (antiviral medicines) to reduce the intensity of disease and slow down the progress of the disease. In severe cases, a liver transplant may also be suggested.
To prevent the cirrhosis of the liver, one can practice the following.
-Drink in moderation and occasionally.
-Viral infections like Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B can be spread through sexual contact. So it is advised to always indulge in safe sex practices. Vaccine for Hepatitis B is available and should be taken without fail.
-Maintain a healthy weight. In case you are overweight, lose weight.
-Eat a low sodium diet. Include lean protein in your diet and avoid raw seafood.
What Could Be The Associated Complications and When Should You See A Doctor?
You must consult a doctor immediately when you experience any of the following symptoms:
-Bleeding due to a decrease in clotting factors which are produced by the liver
-Easy bruising due to a decrease in clotting proteins
-Insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes
-Edema and ascites (fluid collection in feet and abdomen)
Facts About Cirrhosis of Liver You Were Unaware Of
-Liver disease kills more than diabetes and road deaths combined together.
-Liver disease can also be labeled as a silent disease as initially there may be no symptoms at all. Cirrhosis is a risk factor for developing liver cancer.
-Coffee can be good for your liver as long as you do not add sugar to it and have not more than 3 to 4 cups a day.