When the liver gets damaged due to various causes, it is generally called liver cirrhosis. The liver tissues get scarred and the scarring slowly replaces healthy tissue. The result is that the blood flow to the liver is affected and healthy liver function decreases.
When liver cirrhosis occurs the liver won't be able to filter toxins and break down the nutrients and medications. Secondly, the liver won’t be able to make proteins and other substances needed by the body at the right time. Finally, the liver may completely shut down.
Symptoms of Cirrhosis
As the cirrhosis gets worse, the affected person will feel more tired and appetite will slow down. The skin gets itchy, looks yellow and will bruise more easily. Urine will darken and belly and legs will swell with fluid retention. You may also feel nauseated and foggy-brained with loss of memory.
Causes of Cirrhosis
Alcohol addiction is a major cause of liver cirrhosis. Drinking can make your liver swell and retain more fat. This leads to cirrhosis. The amount of alcohol that can cause liver damage differs from person to person, so don’t think that you can adjust your drinking to someone else who has not got liver cirrhosis, it is better to consult your doctor.
Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver
This disease occurs when you are overweight and have diabetes, high cholesterol or blood pressure. When it starts damaging liver it is called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The symptoms will include weight loss, tiredness, weakness, spider veins or itchy skin.
If you have Hepatitis C for six months or more then it becomes chronic and lead to cirrhosis. Hepatitis C virus is the most common cause for chronic hepatitis. The disease spreads through sharing drug needles, unprotected sex with infected person and so on.
Bile duct problem
Bile is a liquid that helps digestion and these ducts carry the liquid from the liver to the gallbladder. Due to various conditions these ducts can get blocked and the liquid back-up into the liver causing the damage. The ducts though can be cleared with medications or a small procedure.
Certain medicines for arthritis and tuberculosis can hurt the liver and lead to cirrhosis. Antibiotics, statins for high cholesterol etc. are hard on the liver. Your genes, health, diet and other medicines to offset this will take care of the problem. If any new drug makes you tired, nauseated, itchy or otherwise unwell inform your doctor and make the changes necessary.
Clots, genetics and more
Clots in certain vital organs can block the flow of blood to the organs or inside it. Then the immune system will mistake it for a disease and attack the clot resulting in inflammation. Genes could make it difficult for you to break down certain nutrients like iron and copper. Otherwise you might inherit conditions that add fat to the liver and make scarring possible for no reason at all.
Diagnosis for Cirrhosis
Blood test are usually employed to test the functional capability of the liver. This is accompanied with ultrasound, X ray or MRI to confirm that there is cirrhosis. Sometimes to further make sure the diagnosis the doctor may recommend biopsy of the liver tissue.
What are the treatments?
So far there is no particular treatment for a liver that has already been affected with scarring, but the doctor may try to stop or slow down the progress by treating the condition that causes the cirrhosis. If alcohol is a problem try to stop drinking and undergo the necessary therapy to do it. Weight loss can also help treat fatty liver. Medicines can help in treating infections, bile duct problems or autoimmune disorders.