What is cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is a long-term, progressive condition in which the liver is damaged beyond repair. It can cause scarring and irreversible liver damage, leading to a wide variety of serious medical problems, including liver cancer and end-stage liver failure. The condition is caused by an accumulation of various toxins and diseases that damage the liver over time.
What causes cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is usually the result of chronic (long-term) liver damage. Common causes of cirrhosis are alcoholism, hepatitis C, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and autoimmune liver disease. In some cases, it can be caused by biliary duct blockages, toxic substances (such as some drugs or toxins), or even a parasite.
What are the symptoms of cirrhosis?
Common symptoms of cirrhosis include: fatigue, weight loss, anemia, jaundice, abdominal pain, swelling of the abdomen and legs, itching, and a decreased appetite. In more advanced stages, symptoms such as confusion (hepatic encephalopathy), shortness of breath, and bleeding from the esophagus or stomach may occur.
Treatment for cirrhosis often depends on its cause. In most cases, however, the goal of treatment will be to prevent the condition from getting worse, and to reduce the risk of complications. This might involve quitting alcohol, avoiding certain medications, and following a liver-healthy diet. If a viral infection is the cause, antiviral medications might be prescribed. Depending on the severity of the condition, medications to reduce the amount of fluid in the body, manage fatigue, or treat other symptoms might also be recommended. In some cases, a liver transplant may be recommended.
Cirrhosis, Liver Damage, Health, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Hepatitis, Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Autoimmune Liver Disease, Biliary Duct Blockages, Antiviral Medications, Liver Transplant.