Liver Cirrhosis is an advanced stage of liver failure. Liver is a very important organ of the digestive tract. Liver bears the brunt of most of the toxins attack on the digestive tract.
What Causes Liver Cirrhosis?
As you all know one of the most common reasons for liver failure is excessive alcohol intake. There are also other reasons like certain types of hepatitis viruses especially hepatitis B and hepatitis C which attacks the liver. These two viruses are known to cause long term liver damage leading to liver failure.
There are also other causes of liver failure, one of the most important causes which is on the rise in the last three decades Is called Nash Or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis in simple terms fatty liver. This is especially seen in diabetics and if left undetected this can progress on to become liver cirrhosis.
Apart from these three main groups alcohol, viruses and fatty liver there are also many other conditions which can cause liver failure especially certain birth defects certain defective enzymes in the child or certain developmental problems in the liver can also cause liver cirrhosis.
What are the Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis?
Liver cirrhosis does not cause any significant symptoms until a majority of the liver is damaged. Up to 80 to 90 percent of the liver has to be damaged before the patient starts experiencing certain symptoms and generally by the time patients start developing symptoms the liver failure is quite advanced.
Symptoms of liver cirrhosis include
- Sudden increase in the size of the tummy because of accumulation of fluid
- Swelling of the feet
- Wasting of the muscles (the patient becomes centrally bulged and the limbs are attached like sticks to him)
- Hair Fall
- Colour change
- Severe itching
How do we Diagnose Liver Cirrhosis?
The basic test to diagnose liver cirrhosis is using an Ultrasound Scan and a blood test called Liver Function Tests. These two can give us an idea of the presence of Liver Cirrhosis. If there is a doubt about liver cirrhosis to further categorize at which stage is the liver failure. One has to do a C.T. scan, Endoscopy and further tests.
What are the Treatment Options Available for Liver Cirrhosis?
Patients with early stage liver cirrhosis are usually managed with medicines which decrease the amount of fluid accumulation in the body which also decrease the pressure of blood reaching the liver and thereby they avoid complications. People who developed advanced stages of liver cirrhosis which we call as a third stage or C stage of liver cirrhosis. These people are candidates for liver transplant. The only option available for treating liver cirrhosis is by removing the damaged liver and fitting healthy liver from a brain-dead donor or one of the patients relatives.