What is liver cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is a late stage of fibrosis of the liver. It is the result of long term damage to liver cells.
Fibrosis of the liver is excessive accumulation of scar tissue that results from ongoing inflammation and liver cell death. Each time your liver is injured, it tries to repair itself. In the process, scar tissue forms. As the scar tissue builds up, it becomes more difficult for the liver to function.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the main causes of cirrhosis are chronic hepatitis B or C, alcoholism and fatty liver disease.
Alcoholism is the leading cause of cirrhosis in the U.S. It develops in 10–20% of heavy drinkers.
The 5-year survival rate for cirrhosis patients who cease drinking is about 90%, compared with 70% of those who continue to drink.
The main causes of cirrhosis are:
- Sustained excessive alcohol consumption
- Chronic viral hepatitis B and C
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) / Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
Signs and Symptoms
- Loss of appetite
- Easy bruising
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin or whites of eyes)
An ultrasound of the liver, a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to check for liver damage. A liver biopsy will be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Cirrhosis Liver Treatment
Currently, there is no cure for cirrhosis. Treatment of cirrhosis is limited and is mostly designed to prevent further damage and manage the symptoms and any complications. Treating the underlying conditions that may be the cause can also slow the progression of cirrhosis.
In more advanced stages of cirrhosis, the scarring may cause liver failure (the liver stops functioning). In this case, the only treatment option is a liver transplant.
- * All research and clinical data should be used as reference purposes only, results may vary.