Cirrhosis is a late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions, such as hepatitis, fatty liver, and chronic alcohol abuse. Obesity is also a cause of cirrhosis. Symptoms may include decreased appetite, nose bleeds, small spider-shaped arteries underneath the skin, and weakness. In more serious cases symptoms may include confusion and difficulty thinking clearly, yellow skin color (jaundice), abdominal swelling, (Ascites), swelling of the legs (Edema), impotence, and males can start to develop breast tissur. Cirrhosis is a known risk factor for cancer of the liver and liver disease can lead to kidney failure.
Cirrhosis is the end stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver. The liver has several vital functions, including detoxifying harmful substances in your body and making proteins. As scarring of the liver progresses it slowly loses those abilities. The liver becomes smaller and it solidifies. This is when the fluid builds in your legs and abdomen. Bile salts can build up in your skin that leads to jaundice you can start seeing blood in your bowel movements or vomiting up of blood. Cirrhosis is the country’s 12th leading cause of death affecting twice as many men as it does women. Cirrhosis of the liver can lead to liver cancer.
Common Causes of Cirrhosis
Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease caused by a virus. Hepatitis C is transmitted through contact with infected blood. Most of the time this leads to a chronic infection, meaning your body is unable to get rid of the infection. Transmission can happen with a transfusion, shared needle, or open wounds. Rarely it can be transmitted sexually.Symptoms of Hepatitis C: May include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting of blood, dark urine, abdominal pain, joint pain, gray-colored stools and jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes).
Hepatitis B is also a contagious liver disease caused by a virus. Most infections with Hepatitis B are able to be cured by your body’s own immune system, however, some people do develop chronic infections just as in Hepatitis C. Hepatitis B is contacted with the body fluids of an infected person. This includes, but not limited to, blood, semen vaginal fluids and saliva. Also a job that involves contact with body fluids, such as: first aid or emergency workers, dentists, prison workers, medical, firefighters, and police personnel.
Symptoms of Hepatitis B: May include a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting. Other symptoms may include tiredness, weight-loss, aches and pains of muscles and joints, headache, light sensitivity, sore throat, cough, and runny nose.
Alcohol-related liver disease is associated with heavy drinking over several years. In general, daily drinking of 2 drinks a day for women and 3 drinks a day for men.
Symptoms of cirrhosis caused by excessive drinking for many years may show signs of fatigue, weakness, itching, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, bruising easily, jaundice, spider veins around the nose and cheeks, edema (swelling of feet, ankles and legs due to a buildup of fluid), ascites (buildup of fluids in the abdomen).
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is usually associated with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Symptoms of fatty liver disease may include fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, and jaundice.
Diagnosis of Cirrhosis
Diagnosis usually requires multiple tests including blood work, ultrasound, CT scan and/or MRI. Biopsy of the liver is the most accurate way to diagnose cirrhosis and to determine the progression of the disease. Fibroscan is a newer technique that is very accurate at diagnosing cirrhosis without a liver biopsy. It is done in the office and is similar to an ultrasound.
Treatment for Cirrhosis
Treatment for the causes of cirrhosis exist whereas treatment for cirrhosis consists mostly of controlling symptoms.
Cirrhosis Prognosis: There is no medical cure for cirrhosis. But, with proper treatment, the severity of the symptoms can be managed and in some cases progression will become slower.