Cirrhosis is a last stage of liver disease and in this condition, the scarred tissue is replaced by the healthy liver tissue which causes the liver to get damaged permanently. Scar tissue keeps your liver from working properly.
There are various types of liver diseases and conditions that injure healthy liver cells, causing cell death and inflammation which is followed by cell repair and tissue scarring as a result of the repair process.
The scar tissue blocks the flow of blood in the liver slowing down the liver’s ability to process nutrients, hormones, drugs and natural toxins. It also hampers the production of proteins and other substances made by the liver. Cirrhosis can be life threatening and prevents working of the liver.
Research proves that cirrhosis affects about one in 400 adults in the U.S. It affects about 1 in 200 adults age 45 to 54. Cirrhosis causes about 26,000 deaths each year in the U.S. Let's know the causes, symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment of cirrhosis.
Liver Cirrhosis: Risk Factors & Causes
According to doctors of Mayo Clinic, here are risk factors of liver cirrhosis:
Shared needles in injections
History of liver disease.
The most common causes of cirrhosis of the liver are:
Alcohol use disorder
Chronic viral infections of the liver like hepatitis B and C
Fatty liver disease
non-alcoholic liver disease
Inherited diseases like Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, Hemochromatosis, Wilson disease, Cystic fibrosis, Glycogen storage diseases, Alagille syndrome, etc
Diseases that damage or block bile ducts in the liver
Chronic heart failure
Rare diseases like amyloidosis
Liver Cirrhosis: Diagnosis
According to doctors of Mayo Clinic, to diagnose liver cirrhosis your provider will perform a physical exam and other tests include:
Physical exam in which your doctor will look for the signs and symptoms of cirrhosis like the red, spider-like blood vessels, yellow skin, whites of your eyes, bruises on your skin, red palms, swelling, tenderness or pain in your abdomen.
Blood tests to check for signs of liver disease and to check levels of albumin and blood clotting, levels of liver enzymes, iron levels, autoantibodies, levels of bilirubin, white blood cell count, high creatinine level, levels of sodium, levels of alpha-fetoprotein.
Imaging tests to check the size, shape and texture of the liver which indicates the amount of scarring, the amount of fat and fluid in your abdomen. Imaging tests include computerized tomography (CT) scan, abdominal ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Biopsy to confirm a diagnosis of cirrhosis and determine other causes or extent of liver damage or enlargement or diagnosis liver cancer.
Liver Cirrhosis: Treatment
There is no cure for cirrhosis. Though depending on the underlying cause of your cirrhosis, here are a few tips to prevent and manage the condition:
Prevent drinking alcohol.
Manage chronic hepatitis
Avoid medications that stress the liver.
Eat a healthy, well-balanced, low-fat diet
The treatment helps slow further damage to your liver and prevents symptoms and complications from worsening.