Causes, symptoms and management of liver cirrhosis

liver cancer

Liver cirrhosis is a medical condition in which the healthy liver tissue turns into scar tissue. Liver cirrhosis tends to be permanent and affects the functional capacity of the liver.

The most significant causes of liver cirrhosis include the following:

Fatty liver.
Chronic viral hepatitis B & C.
Alcohol abuse.
Autoimmune diseases.
The initial clinical picture of liver cirrhosis is asymptomatic, but symptoms usually appear later. The early symptoms of liver cirrhosis include; nausea, weight loss, fatigue and loss of appetite. As liver functions deteriorate, the patient starts to develop the following symptoms:

Increased liability to bruising and bleeding.
Yellowish discoloration of skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice).
Lower limb edema.
Abdominal ascites.
Itching and pruritus.
Dark urine and sometimes blood in the stool.
On the same context, liver cirrhosis may result in serious complications, such as; portal hypertension, esophageal varices, splenomegaly, renal failure, hepatic failure, hepatic encephalopathy and increased risk of liver cancer.

Liver cirrhosis is diagnosed mainly by liver function test as well as radiological examination of the liver by ultrasound, MRI or CT scan. Also, liver biopsy may be ordered in some cases.

There is no treatment for liver cirrhosis as the liver damage is permanent and irreversible. So, therapeutic plan aims mainly to slow deterioration of the liver functions as well as preventing complications; this is done by following a healthy low-fat diet and quitting smoking.

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