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Liver Cirrhosis in kids: What every parent needs to know
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Liver Cirrhosis in kids: What every parent needs to know

Children, just like adults, can develop liver-related problems too. The rates have especially spiked after the increased incidence of obesity among kids. This is predominantly a result of unhealthy lifestyle practices and eating habits that have become very common nowadays. Liver diseases can progress, giving rise to serious complications like cirrhosis. It is a potentially serious condition that commonly affects adults, however, this can be seen in children too. This blog, by the top liver specialist in Gurgaon, will help you understand everything you need to know about liver cirrhosis in kids.


Let us first try to understand what is Cirrhosis and how it affects your little one’s liver

Liver cirrhosis is an end-stage liver disease that is marked by the gradual replacement of healthy liver tissue with scarred tissue. As per the experts specializing in liver transplants in Gurgaon, this happens due to an underlying disease or an injury. The normal functioning of the liver is extremely important as it plays a vital role in metabolism, production of bile and purification of blood. The development of scar tissue in the liver can drastically affect all these functions, thereby leading to a pile-up of toxic wastes in the body. The normal areas of your child’s liver will be surrounded by scarred patches that prevent the whole liver from functioning efficiently.

People usually link cirrhosis with heavy drinking however it is important to understand that the consumption of alcohol is the primary risk factor for cirrhosis but not the only one. This puts an end to the misconception that cirrhosis only affects adults.

Here is a list of some common diseases that can lead to Cirrhosis in kids:

  • Viral hepatitis like hepatitis B and hepatitis C, which can lead to swelling in the liver
  • Autoimmune hepatitis, which is triggered when the immune system of the child attacks the healthy liver cells
  • Biliary atresia, which is marked by an obstruction in the bile duct, that prevents the flow of bile juice from the liver to the gallbladder
  • Cystic fibrosis, which is marked by the increased build-up of mucus that leads to clogging in the liver
  • Certain inherited conditions like glycogen storage disease, tyrosinemia and Wilson’s disease.
  • alpha -1 antitrypsin deficiency, which is marked by the inability of the liver to build important proteins
  • Conditions affecting the bile duct, such as sclerosing cholangitis, congenital hepatic fibrosis and choledochal cysts
  • High doses of certain medicines, that may be given for other medical conditions.


How to recognize the symptoms of Cirrhosis in a child?

Liver cirrhosis in itself is a symptom that your child's liver is failing. The child may not experience any major signs initially and these tend to develop as the problem aggravates. The child is likely to show signs like

  • Unexplained loss of appetite
  • Feeling nauseated
  • Vomiting, especially after meals
  • Unexplained loss of appetite
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Your child complains of abdominal pain
  • Your child’s stomach appears bloated
  • Your little one develops spider-like patterns on the skin.
  • Reddening of palms
  • Unexplained loss of hair
  • Increase in the size of the liver
  • Enlargement of the spleen
  • Your child seems confused all the time
  • Your child cannot remember things


How is Cirrhosis diagnosed in a child?

Liver cirrhosis in children is diagnosed using the same modalities as in adults. These include

  • Blood assessments to determine the amount of waste and toxins present in it
  • Imaging tests like CT scan and ultrasound to detect visible changes in the liver
  • Biopsy to assess a sample of liver tissue for detecting the signs of any abnormality.

If your child has been diagnosed with liver Cirrhosis, you can consult the experts from the best doctors in Gurgaon to explore the various treatment options available for the same.

Dr. Ankur Garg, Director

Digestive & Liver Diseases, Liver Transplant

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