Cirrhosis of the Liver

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Liver cirrhosis is a serious and potentially lethal condition which causes liver inflammation and related symptoms. This inflammation is caused by the replacement of liver tissue with fibrosis and scar tissue. Ultimately this leads to loss of liver function which will have dire consequences for the patient.

There are many different causes of Cirrhosis and these include alcoholism, fatty liver disease, hepatitis B and C, and many more.

Symptoms

The main symptom of cirrhosis is fluid retention (specifically fluid retention in the abdominal cavity) which results in distension of the stomach and increases the likelihood of infection. Also common are bleeding from the esophageal varices and hepatic encephalopathy (which results in confusion and ultimately coma). Other symptoms include vomiting, pain in the abdomen, dizziness, fatigue, swelling in the legs and digestive difficulties. It can also lead to a low platelet count, yellowing of the skin, dark urine, increased heart rate, bleeding gums, muscle cramps and more.

All of these symptoms are related to the liver no longer being able to remove the toxins from the blood, control levels of fats, amino acids and glucose, help break down and digest food for energy, or store vitamins and minerals.

Treatment

Cirrhosis is an irreversible condition and carries a poor prognosis. In the early stages treatment involves management and preventing progression and related complications. The only way to effectively ‘cure’ the condition is through liver transplant.

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Theodoros Manfredi

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