Cirrhosis is when scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. This stops the liver from working normally.
Cirrhosis is a long-term (chronic) liver disease. The damage to your liver builds up over time.
The liver is your body’s largest internal organ.
THE LIVER DOES MANY IMPORTANT THINGS INCLUDING:
- Removes waste from the body, such as toxins and medicines
- Makes bile to help digest food
- Stores sugar that the body uses for energy
- Makes new proteins
When you have cirrhosis, scar tissue slows the flow of blood through the liver. Over time, the liver can’t work the way it should.
In severe cases, the liver gets so badly damaged that it stops working. This is called liver failure.
The most common causes of cirrhosis are:
- Hepatitis and other viruses
- Alcohol abuse
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Autoimmune disorders, where the body’s infection-fighting system (immune system) attacks healthy tissue
- Blocked or damaged tubes (bile ducts) that carry bile from the liver to the intestine
Use of certain medicines
- Exposure to certain toxic chemicals
- Repeated episodes of heart failure with blood buildup in the liver
Other factors may result from family history.
Fluid buildup in the belly (ascites)
Vomiting blood, often from bleeding in the blood vessels in the food pipe (esophagus)
Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
Loss of appetite
Low energy and weakness (fatigue)
Weight loss CIRRHOSIS diagnoses
- BLOOD TESTS. These will include liver function tests to see if the liver is working the way it should. You may also have tests to see if your blood is able to clot.
- LIVER BIOPSY. Small tissue samples are taken from the liver with a needle or during surgery. The samples are checked under a microscope to find out the type of liver disease.
Your healthcare provider may want you to have imaging tests including:
- CT scan (computed tomography). This is an imaging test that uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body. A CT scan shows details of the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). This test makes detailed pictures of organs and structures inside your body. It uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy. A dye may be shot (injected) into your vein. The dye helps the liver and other organs to be seen more clearly on the scan.
- ULTRASOUND. This shows your internal organs as they work. It checks how blood is flowing through different blood vessels. It uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs.
HOW IS CIRRHOSIS TREATED?
Cirrhosis is a progressive liver disease that happens over time. The damage to your liver can sometimes reverse or improve if the trigger is gone, such as stop drinking alcohol or if the virus is treated.
The goal of treatment is to slow down the buildup of scar tissue and prevent or treat other health problems.
In many cases, you may be able to delay or stop any more liver damage that is If you have hepatitis, it may be treated to delay worsening of your liver disease.
Cirrhosis can cause other health problems such as:
✓ Portal hypertension. The portal vein carries blood from your intestines and spleen to your liver and cirrhosis slows the normal flow of blood. That raises the pressure in the portal vein. This is called portal hypertension.
✓ Enlarged blood vessels. .
✓Ascites. Fluid collecting in your belly. This can become infected.
✓Kidney disease or failure
✓Type 2 diabetes.
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