fbpx
logo

Address: 27 Welbeck Street, London, W1G 8EN
Tel: 020 7101 3377

liver_cirrhosis

Liver Cirrhosis: Incidence, Symptoms, and Treatment

Liver cirrhosis is a late-stage liver disease characterized by scarring (fibrosis) of liver tissue, which disrupts the liver’s ability to function properly. The damage to the liver is progressive and often irreversible, leading to a significant decrease in its ability to process nutrients, hormones, drugs, and toxins, as well as produce proteins and other substances necessary for health. Cirrhosis is the result of long-term, continuous damage to the liver and may be due to many different causes, including chronic alcohol abuse, chronic viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and C), and fatty liver disease associated with obesity and diabetes.

Causes

Common causes of liver cirrhosis include:

  • Chronic Alcohol Abuse: A leading cause of cirrhosis. The risk increases with the amount and duration of alcohol consumption.
  • Chronic Viral Hepatitis: Particularly hepatitis B and C, which can lead to liver inflammation and, subsequently, cirrhosis.
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): Associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis: Where the immune system attacks liver cells, causing inflammation and scarring.
  • Other Causes: Can include genetic diseases such as hemochromatosis (iron buildup in the body) and Wilson’s disease (copper accumulation in the liver), bile duct disorders, and certain medications.

Symptoms

In its early stages, cirrhosis often has no symptoms. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and bloating (due to fluid accumulation)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Itching
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles (edema)
  • Easy bruising and bleeding
  • Spider-like blood vessels on the skin

Complications

Cirrhosis can lead to several serious complications, including:

  • Portal hypertension: Increased blood pressure in the portal vein, leading to varices (swollen blood vessels) that can bleed.
  • Ascites: Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy: Impaired brain function due to the liver’s inability to remove toxins from the blood.
  • Liver cancer: People with cirrhosis have an increased risk of developing liver cancer.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing cirrhosis involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, blood tests, imaging studies (such as ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI), and sometimes a liver biopsy to assess the extent of liver scarring.

Treatment

There is no cure for cirrhosis, but treatment can help manage symptoms and slow progression. Strategies include:

  • Treating the underlying cause: Such as abstaining from alcohol, managing chronic viral hepatitis with antiviral medications, or controlling diabetes.
  • Preventing complications: Monitoring and treating complications like portal hypertension, variceal bleeding, ascites, and hepatic encephalopathy.
  • Lifestyle changes: Including a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol, and managing weight.
  • Liver transplant: In advanced cases, a liver transplant may be considered when the liver function significantly deteriorates.

Prevention

Preventing liver cirrhosis largely involves minimizing risk factors:

  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis B and practice safe behaviors to reduce the risk of hepatitis C.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and manage conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol.
  • Avoid exposure to toxins and use medications responsibly.

Early detection and management of liver diseases can help prevent cirrhosis. If you have risk factors for liver disease, regular check-ups and liver health monitoring are crucial.

 

To book online select the date and time that suits you best – alternatively, please contact us with any questions via the chat, call or email links provided.

Address: 27 Welbeck Street, London, W1G 8EN

Telephone020 7101 3377