Liver Cirrhosis

What is Liver Cirrhosis?

Liver cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease, in which a scar develops on the liver surface and prevents the normal functioning of the liver. It prevents blood flow and slows the processing ability of the liver to process nutrients, hormones and toxins. Late-stage cirrhosis can be life threatening.

Cirrhosis can be life-threatening, potentially, as it implies the scarring of the liver that is irreversible. When considered in its advanced stage, there would be damage of liver for about 80% to 90%. This damaged liver is replaced by dead or scar tissues. This severe condition is generally caused by the damaged liver that has been sustained for many years.

The liver can be sustained for long for many reasons. It can be because of the infections, viral infections like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C. The other causes can be toxic substances like excess copper, iron drugs in the liver or sometimes it can be because of the progressive scarring undergone by the liver and slowly replacing the normal liver cells from them.

Symptoms & Signs of Liver Cirrhosis

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
  • Ascites (an abnormal collection of fluid in the tummy)
  • Haematemesis (vomiting of blood)
  • Edema (swelling of legs, feet)
  • Encephalopathy (forgetfulness, drowsiness, mental confusion, incoherent speech or coma)
  • Itching (sensation of immense scratching)
  • Fatigue (weakness and loss of vigour)
  • Insomnia (inability to sleep)
  • Tendency to bleed and bruise easily (due to raised INR)
  • Spider naevi (Red spots over body)
  • Redness of hands
  • Smaller testes
  • Gynaecomastia (Larger breasts in males)

Liver cirrhosis can affect many other organs of the body like kidney, lungs, etc. hence a patient who is being considered for liver transplantation will have to undergo a thorough evaluation to ascertain the cause of liver disease and subsequently fitness to undergo such a major operation like liver transplantation.

Stages of Cirrhosis of the Liver

Liver Cirrhosis stages are visible among the patients who are suffering from liver problems over time. However, it is important to understand that the condition is the final stage of liver failure itself. Thus, when your organ reaches the cirrhosis stage, liver transplantation is the only option left.

Nevertheless, if you can catch the more branched-out stages of cirrhosis beforehand, treatment can still work. Thereafter, the doctor would provide the treatment plan depending on your situation level.

Stage 1: Also known as the compensated cirrhosis, this is the lowest grade of this condition, and is not diagnosed most of the time. Notably, because no chronic liver cirrhosis symptoms appear during this stage, and thus goes unnoticed.

Stage 2: In this stage, varices develop due to a deterioration of portal hypertension. Symptoms are less but visible.

Stage 3: Commonly described as the decompensated cirrhosis, this stage does get attention, because of the dismal condition of the liver. Your abdomen would appear swollen and other harmful complications are also prominent.

Stage 4: As the last stage, this is the most dangerous one (also called ESLD) and beyond the point of remedies. The only option left is getting a transplant.

How Cirrhosis is Diagnosed?

After noticing the symptoms, doctors can use many diagnostic methods to rule out liver disease cirrhosis. Mostly, blood tests and imaging tests are the most common methods of diagnosing cirrhosis. To elaborate, the former would check the liver enzyme levels, bilirubin quantity, blood count (abnormal), virus infections, protein levels, and antibody count for autoimmune individuals.

Aside from that, a biopsy is another surefire way to confirm the non-alcoholic or alcoholic liver cirrhosis diagnosis, but it is invasive. Additionally, doctors also prefer ultrasound and MRI methods to diagnose this condition.

How Liver Cirrhosis is treated?

For the most part, the liver cirrhosis cure is not available, as your liver is beyond rectification at this degree.Thus, the ultimate medical plan that the doctors employ is transplantation through surgery.