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Cirrhosis

Symptoms, risk factors and treatment of cirrhosis

Cirrhosis, also known as cirrhosis of the liver or liver cirrhosis, is a condition that causes scarring to the liver and debilitated liver function. It is the name for the final stage of chronic liver disease, which encompasses a variety of conditions from Hepatitis A, B and C to liver disease caused by alcohol consumption.

Cirrhosis of the liver is a very serious condition. End stage cirrhosis is extremely debilitating and will lead to coma and even death if not treated or managed.

Cirrhosis Symptoms

Cirrhosis symptoms come on gradually, and are often only amplified symptoms from pre-existing conditions. Symptoms include abdominal pain and indigestion, nausea and vomiting, nosebleeds and gum bleeding, weight loss, weakness, jaundice, pale or clay-colored stools, spider veins on the skin, impotence or lack of sex drive, breast development in men, confusion and difficulty thinking.

Physical signs of cirrhosis may include excess breast tissue, reddened palms, distended abdomen, small testicles, dilated veins in the abdominal wall and an enlarged liver or spleen.

If you have a preexisting liver condition, you should report these symptoms to your doctor immediately.

Cirrhosis Risk Factors

Because cirrhosis is simply the end stages of liver disease, those who are at most risk are those with pre-existing liver conditions. Other risk factors include specific medications, autoimmune inflammation of the liver, failure of the drainage system of the liver, metabolic disorders of iron and copper and Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Cirrhosis Treatment

Treatment for cirrhosis starts with lifestyle changes, including giving up alcohol, lowering salt intake, eating nutritiously and vaccinating against flu, pneumonia and other conditions. Other treatments are available to for conditions that manifest as a result of cirrhosis, such as bleeding varices, coagulopathy, confusion, infections and a buildup of abdominal fluid.

Liver transplant is also an option should the condition become severe beyond any other treatment options.

There is no way to undo the damage done by cirrhosis, nor will the liver ever return to its normal functions. However, with proper treatment, the condition can be halted and steps can be taken to manage complications and improve quality of life.

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