Cirrhosis, also called hepatic cirrhosis or liver cirrhosis, is an end-stage liver disease. This disease replaces healthy tissue with scar tissue known as fibrosis. It starts growing and stops the liver from functioning normally. Cirrhosis can be fatal if it progresses to the point where the liver malfunctions.
Alcohol misuse, fatty liver, biliary illness, chronic hepatitis, and other diseases can all lead to liver cirrhosis. The scarring makes the liver less capable of performing its regular functions. Additionally, cirrhosis causes the liver to become "stiff," which lowers blood flow to the liver and causes portal hypertension. Due to varices, dilated blood vessels that can potentially burst can cause an enlarged spleen, ascites, and serious gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding.
If liver cirrhosis progresses to an advanced state, the damage to the liver is irreversible. Although cirrhosis is often permanent, it's indeed treatable.
Depending on the extent of the liver cirrhosis, symptoms may include:
When to see a doctor?
Call your general practitioner if you notice the liver cirrhosis symptoms. The doctor will suggest certain liver tests and if you do have liver problems the doctor will refer you to a gastroenterologist or hepatologist for further treatment.
Liver cirrhosis can result from liver damage brought on by a variety of illnesses and conditions. Among the causes are:
- Chronic viral hepatitis
- Iron buildup in the body
- Fatty liver
- Copper in the liver
- Cystic fibrosis
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Poorly formed bile ducts
- Genetic digestive disorder
- Inherited disorders of sugar metabolism
- Destruction of the bile ducts
- Liver disease caused by your body's immune system
- Hardening and scarring of the bile ducts
- Infection, such as syphilis or brucellosis
- Chronic alcohol abuse
- Medications, including methotrexate or isoniazid
Liver cirrhosis risk factors are:
- Chronic liver disease (B and C)
- Infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or parasites
- Excessive alcoholism
- Unsterilised needles for body piercings and tattoos
- A fatty liver condition
- Autoimmune diseases such as primary sclerosing cholangitis, autoimmune hepatitis, and primary biliary cirrhosis.
- Rare hereditary or genetically based diseases like Wilson's disease and hemochromatosis
- Unprotected sexual intercourse
- High levels of triglycerides in blood
Other risk factors can include
Women are more prone to develop liver cirrhosis than males.
People between the ages of 30 and 60 are often more vulnerable to experiencing liver disorders.
A person's likelihood of developing liver disease increases if they have close relatives who have the condition.
Without medical care, liver cirrhosis can result in some potentially fatal consequences, like as
- Bleeding from constricted blood vessels in the stomach or oesophagus.
- Fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity (Ascites ).
- Contamination of the abdominal cavity's fluid
- Liver failure
- Brain dysfunction
Diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis
CF cannot be prevented. However, genetic testing should be done in a couple with CF or a sick relative. The genetic test can determine the risk of CF in a child by examining a sample of blood or saliva from each parent. Women can also test if she is pregnant and is worried about the baby's risk.
Take care of the liver to lower the chance of developing cirrhosis.
Do not drink alcohol if you have cirrhosis
If you have cirrhosis, you should not consume alcohol. Those who have liver disease but do not have cirrhosis should see their doctor about whether they should consume alcohol at all.
Eat a healthy diet
Eat a balanced diet that is plant-based and rich in fruits and vegetables. Choose lean protein sources and healthy carbohydrates. Reduce your intake of fried and fatty meals. Coffee with caffeine may offer protection against liver cancer and fibrosis.
Maintain a healthy weight
Having too much body fat might harm the liver. If you are obese or overweight, discuss a weight-loss strategy with the doctor.
Reduce the risk of hepatitis
Hepatitis B and C risks are increased by sharing needles and engaging in unprotected sex. See your doctor for hepatitis vaccines.
One or more of the imaging tests listed below may be carried out if the doctor suspects patients have cirrhosis:
Abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan
This method creates multiple digital images or photos of the liver using specialised x-ray equipment and high-tech computers. It can assess the severity of various liver illnesses, such as cirrhosis. For further information, see "Radiation Dose in X-Ray and CT Exams."
Abdominal ultrasound: Using sound waves, an ultrasound exam can provide images of the liver and other internal organs in the abdomen and pelvic. It is possible to assess the liver's blood flow using doppler ultrasonography.
Elastography: This test determines how stiff the liver is and how serious the liver scarring is (liver fibrosis). If liver fibrosis is not treated, it may eventually progress to irreversible cirrhosis of the liver. Elastography can identify liver fibrosis-related stiffness earlier than other imaging procedures. MRI or ultrasound can both be used to conduct the test.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This imaging test provides accurate images of the liver that evaluate the damage caused by various liver illnesses.
Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography
MRCP is a specialised MRI procedure used to examine the digestive system, which is a component of the liver and includes the gallbladder.
Other tests include
Biopsy: A liver tissue sample is collected during a biopsy test to determine the amount of liver damage.
Liver function test
Liver function test: It is done to examine certain enzymes that indicate the presence of liver damage and monitor liver function.
The best course for treating liver cirrhosis depends on what caused it, what symptoms patients are now experiencing, and how far the condition has advanced. Medication, dietary modifications, and surgery are all forms of treatment.
The doctor may prescribe certain drugs, including beta-blockers or nitrates, depending on the cause of the cirrhosis (for portal hypertension). Additionally, they can suggest taking antibiotics or other drugs to cure hepatitis.
- The doctor may suggest to stop drinking if the cirrhosis is caused by alcohol consumption.
- Additionally, if they believe it is medically required, they could advise patients to lose weight.
- A low-sodium diet could also be suggested if you have ascites.
A liver transplant surgery is one of the last options if cirrhosis has progressed to the point that therapy is no longer effective.
Do’s and Don’ts
The liver is the body's most important organ. In the current scenario, where a sedentary lifestyle and increased alcohol abuse have become dangerously common, liver health has regained focus. According to a World Health Organization estimate, around ten lakh people in India are diagnosed with liver cirrhosis per year. Following the below do’s and don’ts can help manage the symptoms of cirrhosis.
|Consume more leafy green vegetables||Consume too much alcohol|
|Add more vitamin C to your diet ||Chew tobacco and smoke|
|Add more good fats and proteins in your diet||Eat excessive salty and sugary foods.|
|Regular exercises and lead a healthy lifestyle ||Be overweight|
|Stay away from pollution and dust ||Take stress|
Today, however, diet and peoples' general lifestyles are largely responsible for the most cases of liver disorders. Patients with liver cirrhosis are between 40 to 45 years; however, due to lifestyle-related factors, many younger people are now developing the condition. Manage the symptoms of cirrhosis to lead a healthy life. Seek timely treatment and keep following up with the doctor for better monitoring of the condition.
Cirrhosis Care at Medicover
At Medicover hospitals, we have the best team of gastroenterologists and hepatologists who provide the most comprehensive liver care and management. To treat various liver problems and disorders, our medical experts use the most advanced diagnostic methods and latest technology for accurate diagnosis and timely initiation of treatment. Our medical experts work closely with the patients to monitor their health and treatment progress to achieve a faster and more sustained recovery.