Cirrhosis: What is scarring your liver?
Liver cirrhosis is a life-threatening condition which is marked by the gradual replacement of healthy liver tissues with scar tissues. This results in declining of liver function and eventually, leading to the liver becoming completely non-functional.
Experts specialising in liver transplants in Gurugram suggest that the condition is progressive in nature and the rate of progress is quick. Cirrhosis is not reversible, however, the symptoms can be managed with proper and timely medical intervention.
What causes cirrhosis?
Liver cirrhosis is commonly seen in people who consume a lot of alcohol. This, however, is not the only cause of cirrhosis, and there are several other factors that may be accountable for it. These include:
- Viral hepatitis, such as hepatitis A, B & C
- Fatty liver disease, commonly seen with uncontrolled diabetes, unhealthy diet, obesity
- Having a family history of cirrhosis
- Genetically inherited conditions Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease and Cystic fibrosis
- Diseases affecting the bile ducts, such as primary biliary cholangitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis and biliary atresia.
However, these do not necessarily mean that you will be diagnosed with cirrhosis, but it certainly increases the risk factors.
How can cirrhosis affect you?
In order to understand how liver cirrhosis can affect you, it is first important to understand the functioning of a healthy liver. Being the largest organ in the human body, it is involved in the regulation of vital functions like:
- Production of albumin and bile
- Filtration of blood
- Regulation of amino acids
- Regulation of blood clotting
- Processing of glucose
- Storing vitamins and minerals
- Fighting infections
To perform all these functions, the liver has to be in a healthy condition. In case of patients with cirrhosis, the healthy liver tissue is replaced by dead tissue or scar tissue; which affects its ability to function normally. With time, the condition tends to progress, eventually hampering all the above-mentioned functions, giving rise to serious complications. We have listed some of these complications with the help of top liver specialists in Gurugram
- Portal hypertension - This is marked by the increase of pressure in the walls of the portal vein. This happens due to the disrupted flow of blood through the liver owing to the obstruction caused by scar tissues.
- Hypersplenism - This refers to a condition in which the patient’s spleen becomes enlarged & overactive, resulting in decrease in blood cells and eventually damaging them
- Infections - When your liver is not functioning properly, it can make you vulnerable to serious infections and impact your body’s ability to fight the same.
- Malnutrition - This is caused by inability of the patient’s liver to process food and extract important nutrients from it.
- Liver cancer - Many people confuse liver cirrhosis for liver cancer, however, both conditions are completely different. Liver cirrhosis is a leading risk factor for liver cancer.
- Liver failure - Liver failure is a condition marked by the complete shutdown of all liver functions, which is likely to happen at the later stage of cirrhosis.
Do you have liver cirrhosis?
The symptoms of liver cirrhosis are initially silent but develop gradually. Here is a list of some common symptoms that could be linked to liver cirrhosis:
- Unexplained loss of appetite
- Fatigue and general body weakness
- Feeling tired and nauseated
- Unintended loss of weight
- Increased vulnerability to bruising and bleeding
- Jaundice, marked by yellowing of skin and eyes
- Oedema or fluid accumulation in the limbs
- Ascites or fluid accumulation in the abdomen
- Psychological symptoms like confusion, memory loss and problems with concentration
If you have been experiencing any of the above, consult the best doctor in India today and get yourself evaluated.