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Cirrhosis Disease

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Introduction

MVSAT 2024

Cirrhosis is a late-stage condition that results from the long-suffering of Liver diseases or the complications related to it. However, it is not that there aren’t early-stage symptoms when this disease is budding. Some common symptoms indicate the possibility of development of Liver cirrhosis such as hepatitis, too much consumption of alcohol, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The treatment of cirrhosis is dependent upon the quantum of damage that persists and the factors that cause it. However, a Liver transplant may be suggested to the patients in case the liver stops functioning at all.


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What does the Term Cirrhosis Mean? 

Liver cirrhosis is the late stage of fibrosis or scarring of healthy liver tissue. In other words, cirrhosis is the last stage condition where the healthy liver tissues are completely displaced by the scar tissues that completely damage the liver.


What happens is that whenever your liver tissue damages – whether by hepatitis or overconsumption of alcohol or any other liver cirrhosis cause – the liver tissues turn on the process of repairing them by themselves. However, as this chronic liver disease increases, a cluster of many scar tissues forms that stops the liver from functioning anymore.


What are the Liver Cirrhosis Symptoms? 

As we learned, advanced stages of liver cirrhosis cause a serious threat to the life of a patient. However, there is no particular sign or symptoms that can tell cirrhosis is building up in your body. But if any liver cirrhosis symptoms  do appear, then they are as follows:


  • Appetite loss

  • Fatigue

  • Jaundice

  • Swelling up of your legs, ankles, or feet

  • Redness appears in the palms

  • For women, long missing or absence of periods, except menopause 

  • For men, breast enlargement, sex drive loss, or testicular atrophy

  • Nausea

  • Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen

  • Drowsiness, confusion, or slurring of tongue


What are the Causes of Cirrhosis? 

There are numerous diseases and dangerous conditions that can severely damage the liver and make your liver suffer from cirrhosis, chronic liver disease. The causes are listed below:


  • There is a situation of hemochromatosis, wherein the iron is hugely built up in your body.

  • The bile ducts are poorly formed

  • Addiction and abuse of alcohol consumption 

  • Inherited galactosemia, which means that if disordered sugar metabolism is Inherited

  • Autoimmune hepatitis, where the liver disease in your body is caused by your own body’s immune system


What are the Liver Cirrhosis Complications? 

There are several liver cirrhosis complications which are as follows:

1. Portal Hypertension:

Cirrhosis reduces the normal blood flow speed through the liver which in turn increases the pressure of blood flow in the veins that takes blood from the spleen and intestines to supply it to the liver.


2. Swelling of Legs, Ankles, and Abdomen:

The increased blood pressure in the portal vein leads the fluid to accumulate in the legs (known as edema) and abdomen (known as ascites). However, edema and ascites may also occur because of the liver’s inability to produce enough albumin, which is blood proteins.


3. Bleeding:

Portal hypertension can drive the blood flow to smaller veins instead of the targeted veins. This redirection of blood flow which is high in pressure can burst the small veins, leading to heavy bleeding. Portal hypertension can also enlarge the veins in the esophagus or stomach leading to serious bleeding. If the liver cannot produce enough clotting factors, then serious bleeding will continue.


4. Hepatic Encephalopathy:

The liver suffering from cirrhosis isn’t able to clear the toxins from the bloodstream the way a healthy liver does. This leads the toxins to accumulate in the brain and cause loss of concentration and confusion in the mind. As hepatic encephalopathy progresses, it can lead to the generation of unresponsiveness or push you into a coma.


Fun Fact - What is Liver Cirrhosis Treatment? 

Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease that can severely threaten your life if it is not treated properly after being detected. The question arises now, what is the liver cirrhosis treatment? The following points mentioned below are some of the ways to treat it:


  • If the patient is suffering from portal hypertension, then:

  1. Injecting nitrates or meta blockers to lower down the blood pressure. 

  2. Redirect the bloodstream from the portal vein to control the pressure and avoid variceal bleeding by using either distal splenorenal shunt or transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt.

  • If liver cirrhosis is causing hepatic encephalopathy, then prescription of lactose to absorb the toxins present in the blood.

  • If edema and ascites are accumulated, then using a draining procedure called paracentesis to remove extra fluid from the abdomen or consumption of diuretic medications to drain edema.


Conclusion

To explain cirrhosis meaning briefly, cirrhosis is the last-stage scarring of liver tissues and leads to several complications such as bleeding, hepatic encephalopathy, etc. If you’re seeing any liver cirrhosis symptoms, then don’t wait more and make an appointment with your doctor today to avoid further complications.

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FAQs on Cirrhosis Disease

1. Does liver swelling indicate that you’re suffering from cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis leads to the scarring of liver tissues because of hepatitis or alcohol abuse. Initially, the scar tissues block the blood flow and lower the ability to process nutrients by the liver. Afterwards, then it decreases the liver’s ability to produce nutrients and other substances, ultimately making the liver stop functioning properly at all. Liver swelling is one of the side effects of liver cirrhosis. In the early stage of cirrhosis, there will be inflammation of the liver. If it is not treated on time, it can lead to scarring of tissues.

2. What are the types of liver cirrhosis?

There are four types of liver cirrhosis which are as follows:

1. Stage-1 cirrhosis: In this stage, there is scarring of liver tissues with no medical complications and fewer symptoms. It is known as compensated cirrhosis.


2. Stage-2 cirrhosis: It includes aggravation of portal hypertension and initiation of varices development.


3. Stage-3 cirrhosis: This stage marks decompensated cirrhosis wherein there is advanced scarring and swelling in the abdomen.


4. Stage-4 cirrhosis: This is the last and the life-threatening stage. By this stage, the patIent had developed an end-stage liver disease which can be perilous, if the liver is not transplanted.


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