Cirrhosis of the Liver Stages and Symptoms

Cirrhosis of the liver stages and symptoms

Cirrhosis of the liver stages and symptoms is been examined in this article, together with causes, diagnosis, and treatment. There are different stages and symptoms of cirrhosis of the liver.

What is Cirrhosis of the Liver?

Cirrhosis of the liver is a chronic liver damage, characterized by deterioration of cells and fibrous thickening of tissue. Cirrhosis can be caused by many forms of liver diseases such as hepatitis and chronic alcoholism.
Normally, your liver always tries to repair itself each time it is injured by disease, excess alcohol consumption, or another cause. In the process of restoring itself, scar tissue forms. More and more scar tissue forms as cirrhosis progresses, making it difficult for the liver to function. Advanced cirrhosis is deadly.
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It is impossible to undo the liver damage caused by cirrhosis of the liver. However, if liver cirrhosis is detected early and the cause is treated, further damage can be limited and, rarely, reversed.

Cirrhosis of the Liver Symptoms

Liver cirrhosis often has no signs or symptoms until liver damage is widespread. When signs and symptoms do occur, they may include:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itchy skin
  • Swelling in your legs, feet or ankles (edema)
  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding or bruising easily
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Yellow discoloration in the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Fluid accumulation in your abdomen (ascites)
  • Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy)
  • Spiderlike blood vessels on your skin
  • Redness in the palms of the hands
  • Absent or loss of periods not related to menopause (for women)

Causes of Cirrhosis of the Liver

Cirrhosis of the liver can be caused by a wide range of diseases and conditions. Some of the causes include:
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Chronic alcohol abuse
  • Poorly formed bile ducts Chronic viral hepatitis (hepatitis B, C and D)
  • Fat accumulating in the liver (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease)
  • Iron accumulation in the body (hemochromatosis)
  • Copper accumulated in the liver (Wilson’s disease)
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Inherited disorders of sugar metabolism
  • Genetic digestive disorder (Alagille syndrome)
  • Liver disease caused by your body’s immune system (autoimmune hepatitis)
  • Destruction of the bile ducts
  • Infection, such as syphilis or brucellosis
  • Medications, including methotrexate or isoniazid
  • Hardening and scarring of the bile ducts

Cirrhosis of the Liver Stages

The early stages of liver disease is characterized by inflammation. If left untreated, it deteriorates to scarring or fibrosis. With timely medical intervention, the fibrosis stage can still be treated. However, if still ignored, then it develops to the cirrhosis stage. In order words, cirrhosis of the liver stages is actually the last stage of liver damage.
At the stage of cirrhosis of the liver, it is impossible for the scar tissue to heal, but the progression of the scarring may be prevented or slowed. In cases of complication like the end-stage liver disease (ESLD), the only option may be liver transplant.
For the cirrhosis of liver stages:
  • Stage 1 cirrhosis has to do with some scarring of the liver, but few symptoms. There are no complications in this stage.
  • Stage 2 cirrhosis involves worsening portal hypertension and the development of varices.
  • Stage 3 cirrhosis involves the development of swelling in the abdomen and advanced liver scarring. There are complications and liver failure at this stage.
  • Stage 4 cirrhosis is deadly and marked with end-stage liver disease (ESLD).

Cirrhosis of the Liver Risk factors

  • Excess intake of alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for cirrhosis.
  • Being obese. Being obese or overweight increases your risk of conditions that may lead to cirrhosis, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
  • Having viral hepatitis. Not everyone with chronic hepatitis will develop cirrhosis, but it’s one of the world’s leading causes of liver disease.

Complications

Complications of cirrhosis can include:
  • High blood pressure in the veins that supply the liver
  • Enlargement of the spleen
  • Bleeding
  • Infections
  • Swelling in the legs and abdomen
  • Increased risk of liver cancer
  • Buildup of toxins in the brain
  • Jaundice
  • Bone disease
  • Acute-on-chronic cirrhosis
  • Malnutrition

Cirrhosis of the Liver Prevention

You can reduce your risk of cirrhosis by taking these steps to care for your liver:
  • Avoid excess intake of alcohol. If you have liver disease, you should quit alcohol completely.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess body fat can damage your liver. Consult your doctor about a weight-loss plan if you are obese.
  • Reduce your risk of hepatitis .Engaging in intimacy without protection and sharing needles can increase your risk of hepatitis B and C. Ask your doctor about hepatitis vaccinations.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose a plant-based diet that’s full of fruits and vegetables. Select whole grains and lean sources of protein. Reduce the amount of fatty and fried foods you eat.

Diagnosing Cirrhosis

At the early stage, symptoms of cirrhosis is not obvious. In most cases, cirrhosis is first detected through a routine blood test or checkup. To help confirm a diagnosis, a combination of laboratory and imaging tests is usually carried out.

Tests

Your doctor may order one or more tests that may suggest a problem with your liver, including:
  • Laboratory tests.You may undergo blood tests to check for signs of liver malfunction, such as excess bilirubin, and some enzymes that may indicate liver damage. Your blood is checked for creatinine. You’ll be screened for the hepatitis viruses.
  • Imaging tests.Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) may be recommended to help detect hardening or stiffening of the liver. Other imaging tests, such as MRI, CT and ultrasound, may also be performed.
  • Biopsy involves taking a tissue sample, which your doctor may use to identify the severity, extent and cause of liver damage.
If you have cirrhosis, your doctor is likely to recommend regular diagnostic tests to monitor for signs of disease progression or complications, especially esophageal varices and liver cancer. Noninvasive tests are becoming more widely available for monitoring.

Cirrhosis of the Liver Treatment

Treatment for cirrhosis depends on the cause and extent of your liver damage. The goals of treatment are to slow the progression of scar tissue in the liver and to prevent or treat symptoms and complications of cirrhosis. You may need to be hospitalized if you have severe liver damage.
In early cirrhosis, it may be possible to reduce damage to the liver by treating the underlying cause. The options include:
  • Treatment for alcohol dependency. It is vital for people with cirrhosis to quit alcohol since the amount of alcohol is harmful to the liver. Your doctor may recommend a treatment program for alcohol addiction to help you stop.
  • Weight loss. People with cirrhosis caused by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease may become healthier if they lose weight and control their blood sugar levels.
  • Medications to control hepatitis. Medications may limit further damage to liver cells caused by hepatitis B or C through specific treatment of these viruses.
  • Medications to control other causes and symptoms of cirrhosis. Medications may slow the progression of certain types of liver cirrhosis.

Treatment for complications of Cirrhosis of the Liver 

Your doctor will work to treat any complications of cirrhosis, including:
  • Excess fluid in your body. A diet low in sodium may be recommended and medication to prevent fluid buildup in the body may help control ascites and swelling. Severe fluid buildup may require procedures to drain the fluid.
  • Portal hypertension. Certain blood pressure medications may control increased pressure in the veins that supply the liver and prevent severe bleeding.
  • You may receive antibiotics or other treatments for infections. Your doctor also is likely to recommend vaccinations for influenza, pneumonia and hepatitis.
  • Increased liver cancer risk. Your doctor will likely recommend periodic blood tests and ultrasound exams to look for signs of liver cancer.

Liver transplant surgery

When the liver ceases to function in advanced cases of cirrhosis, a liver transplant may be the only treatment option. A liver transplant is a procedure to replace your liver with a healthy liver from a deceased donor or with part of a liver from a living donor. Cirrhosis is one of the most common reasons for a liver transplant. Candidates for liver transplant have extensive testing to determine whether they are healthy enough to have a good outcome following surgery.

 

 

 

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