Cirrhosis is a serious condition that involves scarring that damages the liver. If an individual has cirrhosis, the healthy tissue is replaced by scar tissue. The liver ceases to produce enough clotting factors that results to bleeding and bruising.
This results to the buildup of bile and poisons in the blood. The scarring can also cause high blood pressure in the vein that transports blood from the intestines via the liver. This causes severe bleeding in the GI tract and other serious issues. Remember that cirrhosis can be deadly, but prompt treatment can stop the liver damage.
What are the causes?
Cirrhosis have various causes which includes the following:
- Chronic viral hepatitis
- Long-term, excessive consumption of alcohol
- Autoimmune diseases such as hepatitis or primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)
- Obstructed bile ducts
- Genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis or hemochromatosis
Indications of cirrhosis
An individual might have no symptoms in the initial phases of cirrhosis. As it worsens, it can trigger various symptoms such as:
- Easy bruising
- Small-sized, reddened spots and tiny lines on the skin or spider angiomas
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
- Episodes of severe nosebleeds
- Weight loss
- Swelling due to the buildup of fluid in the legs and abdomen
- Bleeding from the enlarged veins in the GI tract
The treatment might include medications, surgery or other options depending on the cause and issues responsible. It is vital to undergo treatment as soon as possible but it cannot cure the condition. It can help prevent or delay further damage to the liver.
There are measures that can reduce the damage to the liver and control the symptoms such as the following:
- Avoid drinking any alcoholic beverage. If the individual does not stop completely, damage to the liver can rapidly worsen.
- A doctor should be consulted before using any medications, both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Medications that can damage the liver include acetaminophen and other pain medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.
- Immunizations should be updated to reduce the risk for infections.
- A low-sodium diet should be followed to prevent the buildup of fluid which is a usual issue in cirrhosis that can be life-threatening.
The symptoms might not manifest until an issue is already severe. It is vital to consult a doctor for regular check-ups and laboratory testing. Take note that testing is required to assess for possible issues particularly distended veins in the digestive tract or liver cancer.