What is Cirrhosis of Liver?

Cirrhosis is a slowly progressing liver disease which involves loss of liver cells and irreversible scarring of the liver. Eventually a healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue, eventually preventing the liver from functioning properly.

Complications of cirrhosis include edema, ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, variceal bleeding, hepatic encephalopathy, hepatorenal syndrome, hepatopulmonary syndrome, hypersplenism, and liver cancer.

Cirrhosis is estimated to have resulted in in 1.2 million deaths globally in 2013, up from 0.8 million deaths in 1990. Nearly one-third of this is estimated to be due to alcohol abuse.

 

What causes Cirrhosis of Liver?

Hepatitis C, fatty liver, and alcohol abuse are the most common causes of cirrhosis of the liver. Some of the causes involve:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Blockage of the bile duct,
  • Hepatitis (Usually Hepatitis B, C, D)
  • Repeated bouts of heart failure.
  • Certain inherited medical conditions
  • Certain allergic reactions to drugs may also cause cirrhosis.

Symptoms and detection:

Cirrhosis of the liver is diagnosed through several methods:

  • Physical exam.
  • Blood tests.
  • Other tests like CT scan, ultrasound, radioisotope or liver/spleen scan.
  • Biopsy
  • Surgery
  • Laparoscopic inspection

 

Complications due to Cirhossis of Liver can include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Reduced oxygen in the blood
  • Diabetes
  • Changes in blood count
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Excessive bleeding/ increased bruising
  • Breast enlargement in men
  • Premature menopause in women
  • Loss of muscle mass

 

Cure and prevention

Treatment of cirrhosis is designed to prevent further damage to the liver, treat complications of cirrhosis, and preventing or detecting liver cancer early. Of late, even liver transplant is not uncommon.

While most of these complications can initially be treated with medicines/ lifestyle changes (including diet). This depends usually upon the cause of cirrhosis. In cases like Cirrhosis caused due to Hepatitis medicines may be provided, while if it is due to alcohol consumption, it’s consumption needs to be avoided.

Once this treatment becomes ineffective, a liver transplant needs to be considered.

A healthy lifestyle (right diet, right exercise & avoiding smoking/ alcohol) may help you keep your liver healthy.

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