Liver Cirrhosis: What Is It? What Are The Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment Options?

The liver is one of the most important and largest solid organs in your body. It plays a crucial role in a cascade of functions like the filtration of blood, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, and regulating blood clotting to name a few. Any disease of inflammation of the liver could be life-threatening, or fatal if not diagnosed early and treated. 

San Antonio Cirrhosis specialists can diagnose conditions at the earliest and prevent the disease progression.

Liver cirrhosis-Introduction 

Cirrhosis is defined as permanent scarring that damages your liver and interferes with its functioning. It is a result of persistent liver damage (chronic hepatitis ) over many years. 

When there is inflammation your liver tissues attempt to heal itself by scarring. But too much scar tissue is harmful since it prevents your liver from working efficiently. 

Possible causes of cirrhosis 

The most common causes of cirrhosis include:

  • Alcohol-induced hepatitis
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Chronic hepatitis B 
  • Chronic hepatitis C
  • Certain genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis, and Wilson disease
  • Certain autoimmune diseases like autoimmune hepatitis
  • Long-term exposure to environmental toxins 
  • Cardiovascular disease 

Risk factors associated with the development of cirrhosis 

You might be at a higher risk for developing cirrhosis of the liver of you:

  • Are a male older than 50
  • Present with a history of alcohol consumption
  • Suffer from chronic viral hepatitis infection
  • Have metabolic disorders like Type 2 diabetes
  • Excess iron buildup in the body

Characteristic signs and symptoms of cirrhosis 

Cirrhosis symptoms due to declining liver function include:

  • Jaundice (a yellow tint to your eyes and skin)
  • Pruritus (itchy skin)
  • Dark-colored pee and poop
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Muscle mass loss
  • Absence of menstrual cycles in females
  • Gynecomastia (enlarged breasts) and shrunken testes in males
  • Motor dysfunction (twitching or tremors)

Symptoms related to portal hypertension:

  • Abdominal swelling (ascites)
  • Swelling in your hands, legs, and face
  • Easy bleeding and bruising
  • Low urine output
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Lack of appetite
  • Exhaustion
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Digestive tract bleeding 

Treatment involved to cure cirrhosis

Treatment for cirrhosis of the liver includes:

  • Treating the cause
    • Antivirals can cure hepatitis C and suppress hepatitis B
    • Immunosuppressants and corticosteroids can manage autoimmune disorders
  • Diet and lifestyle changes
    • Quit alcohol consumption
    • Eliminate liver-damaging drugs
    • Consume a well-balanced diet
    • Dietary supplements to treat nutritional deficiencies 
    • Exercise regularly to lose weight 
  • Surgery 
    • Liver transplantation is the preferred choice of treatment in case of liver cancer, acute liver failure, and if you do not respond to other treatments
    • Liver cancers can also be treated through radiation or chemotherapy 

Bottom line 

Cirrhosis is a life-threatening consequence of chronic liver disease that must be addressed as early as possible to halt the disease’s progression. 

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