He is one of the best gastroenterology doctors I have ever visited. Took my uncle for stomach pain, the doctor did endoscopy & colonoscopy, diagnosed the problem as large intestine cancer, the doctor asked a...
The doctor is extremely professional and polite. He explains the problem patiently and does not prescribe unnecessary medication. He gives priority to the patient's well-being over everything. I Will definitely recommend him
I have referred/recommended a couple of my relatives and friends to this Dr (Dr. Srujan Kumar Dasyam). I say that the diagnosis and treatment are good and also Dr listens patiently in understanding the patient's...
Apoorva Reddy Panyala
Table Of Contents
- What is Liver Cirrhosis?
- What Causes Liver Cirrhosis?
- What are the Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis?
- How is Liver Cirrhosis Diagnosed?
- What are the Complications of Liver Cirrhosis?
- What is the Treatment for Liver Cirrhosis?
What is Liver Cirrhosis?
Severe scarring of the liver is termed liver cirrhosis. Whenever the liver is wounded, whether from illness or too much alcohol, it tries to heal itself. Scar tissue arises as a result of this process. Cirrhosis causes scar tissue to grow, making it harder for the liver to function. Cirrhosis with advanced stages is fatal.
What Causes Liver Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis of the liver can be caused by various factors, the most common causes being alcohol and persistent hepatitis.
- Alcohol: Cirrhosis induced by alcohol is usually the outcome of excessive drinking over a long period.
- Hepatitis caused by a virus (hepatitis B, C and D)
- Fat deposits in the liver (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease)
- The accumulation of iron in the body (hemochromatosis)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Wilson’s illness is characterized by copper accumulation in the liver.
- Bile ducts that aren’t adequately developed (biliary atresia)
- Deficiency of alpha-1 antitrypsin
- Sugar metabolism problems that are inherited (galactosemia or glycogen storage disease)
- Genetic gastrointestinal disorder (Alagille syndrome)
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Bile duct scarring and hardening (primary sclerosing cholangitis)
- Infections such as Syphilis or brucellosis
- Medications such as methotrexate and isoniazid.
What are the Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis generally has no symptoms until the liver has been severely damaged. When signs and symptoms do appear, they may include the following:
- Skin irritation
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bruising or bleeding easily
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Generalized oedema
- Fluid buildup in the abdomen
- Presence of spider-like blood vessels in the skin
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Loss of libido
- Testicular atrophy
- Confusion and drowsiness
How is Liver Cirrhosis Diagnosed?
The diagnosis starts with a physical examination that focuses on spotting the essential signs and symptoms like hand tremors, yellow discolouration of eyes and skin, enlarged liver or spleen, and reddened palms.
Further, tests and procedures are done to aid in the final diagnosis:
- Blood tests to look for indicators of liver diseases such as bilirubin and biliverdin levels.
- An upper endoscopy to check for oesophageal varices
- Liver ultrasound scan
- An abdominal MRI
- CT scan of the abdominal cavity
- Liver biopsy-This is the most definitive test to diagnose liver disease and can be done along with upper endoscopy.
What are the Complications of Liver Cirrhosis?
- Bone disease: Liver cirrhosis leads to decreased bone strength and fractures.
- Hepatic encephalopathy: The liver is responsible for clearing out the toxins from the blood. Cirrhosis damages the liver, making it unable to remove toxins from the blood as effectively as a healthy liver. These poisons can build up in the brain, causing mental disorientation and concentration problems. Hepatic encephalopathy can lead to unresponsiveness or coma over time.
- Portal hypertension: Cirrhosis reduces the normal flow of blood through the liver, raising the pressure in the vein that carries blood from the intestines and spleen to the liver leading to increased blood pressure in the veins that feed the liver.
- Infections: The immunity of the liver to fight against infections decreases, thus, can lead to bacterial peritonitis, a severe illness.
- Splenomegaly: There is a risk of spleen enlargement due to portal hypertension.
- Liver cancer: Liver cirrhosis significantly increases the probability of getting liver cancer.
- Blood loss: Portal hypertension can lead to life-threatening bleeding by enlarging veins in the stomach or oesophagus. Continued bleeding can also be caused by the liver’s inability to generate adequate clotting factors.
What is the Treatment for Liver Cirrhosis?
Treatment of liver cirrhosis is determined by the cause and severity of liver impairment. Treatment aims to reduce the growth of scar tissue in the liver and prevent or treat cirrhosis symptoms and consequences.
Drugs can help with itching, exhaustion, and discomfort. To combat malnutrition caused by cirrhosis and avoid weak bones, nutritional supplements may be provided. Lifestyle changes such as a low sodium diet and reduced alcohol intake are also recommended.
If there is severe liver damage, a liver transplant is indicated.