What is cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is irreversible deterioration of liver function. With an unhealthy liver, the normal cells are replaced by scar tissue which can block the flow of blood through the liver impairing the liver functions necessary for survival such as:
- Controlling infections
- Removing bacteria and toxins from the blood
- Processing nutrients, hormones and drugs
- Making proteins that regulate blood clotting
What causes cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is caused by a variety of factors, however the most common causes in the United States are heavy alcohol consumption, chronic hepatitis C and Obesity.
What are the symptoms of cirrhosis?
In the early stages of the disease there are no symptoms but as the disease progresses, these common symptoms occur:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal distension
How is cirrhosis diagnosed?
The diagnosis of cirrhosis is usually based on a complete thorough evaluation done by a qualified physician. It is important to identify risk factors for cirrhosis, such as alcohol use, viral infection or obesity.
How is cirrhosis treated?
Depending on the cause of cirrhosis, treatment might help slow the progression of scar tissue in the liver and prevent or treat the complications of the disease.
When is a liver transplant indicated for cirrhosis?
If complications can’t be controlled by treatment, a liver transplant may be necessary. Liver transplantation is a major operation in which the diseased liver is removed and replaced with a healthy one from an organ donor.