Liver is an important organ of the body, it weighs about 3 pounds and performs many important functions. It acts as a storage house for essential nutrients and releases them in the bloodstream as and when required. Liver also helps in the storage of body glucose in the form of glycogen. Body is able to perform smooth digestion because of the proper functioning of the liver. It also plays an important part in relieving the body from harmful toxins such as alcohol and drugs.
If not taken proper care, there are certain factors that cause difficulties in the smooth functioning of this organ; Hepatitis, Autoimmune disease and Non-Alcoholic fatty liver disease are health conditions which usually lead to liver cirrhosis. However, alcohol addiction is the foremost cause of this condition. To be more specific, in liver cirrhosis healthy liver tissues are replaced by fibrous, scar tissue and regenerative nodules. This sudden change leads to the blockage of blood flow to the liver and gradually leads to its collapse in the final cirrhosis stages.
This is the initial stage of cirrhosis and the patient experiences very few symptoms. The symptoms include dry mouth, fatigue, jaundice and enlargement of upper stomach area. Some patients are also found to be suffering from itchiness all over the body. In the 1st stage the patient will suffer from inflammation and abnormal tissue. Advancement of cirrhosis stages is determined by a liver biopsy. In stage 1, the liver suffers from inflammation and abnormal tissue growth.
As this dreaded disease progresses to second stage, abnormal tissues begin their transformation in to stiff bands of connective tissue. This transformation is known as fibrosis. Fibrosis and inflammation has spread to both the portal veins and the surrounding periportal regions.
In stage 3 all the stiff bands begin to merge with each other and this union causes the enlargement of affected areas. This can lead to disruption of liver functions which can mean, inability to digest fats and absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
This is the final of all cirrhosis stages and the most dreaded one. Patients in the final stage have a chance of survival only if they opt for a liver transplant and the transplantation procedure comes with various terms and conditions. It is also not necessary that the new liver adjusts with the body and starts performing its normal functions. Even after weighing all these risks, liver transplant is considered as the best option as an individual would not be able to survive for long without it.
The symptoms usually depends on how much damage has been caused to the liver. In the early stages there may be no symptoms at all, and in many instances the disease has been discovered as a result of another illness.
- People suffering from cirrhosis of liver can suffer from jaundice. Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and eyes and it happens because of the inability of the liver to remove a substance called bilirubin from blood.
- The shape and appearance of your nails may change. They may be white rather than pink.
- A very important function of the liver is to remove all the excess fluid of the body through kidneys and when it suffers from cirrhosis it is unable to get rid of the excess fluid. As a result, this excess fluid starts to accumulate in various parts of the body.
- Nosebleeding and easy bruising is a common symptom in this condition as the body suffers from enlarged blood vessels, and is unable to blood clot as the liver fails to produce clotting proteins.
The treatment usually depends upon its cause. The goal of treatment is to slow down the transformation of abnormal tissues in to stiff bands and liver transplant is usually performed if the disease has reached to the final stage. Patients suffering from liver cirrhosis should themselves take precautionary measures to make sure that liver is not further damaged. They should have a balanced diet which is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. The most important step to take is to stop the consumption of alcohol. Patients should also be very careful when using medications as a damaged liver cannot remove drugs from the body. The liver transplant cost totally depends upon the condition of your liver and the donor.
Once the liver has cirrhosis, no treatment can make it go away but diagnosing the cause may slow down the effects of cirrhosis. Various doctors and health experts advise patients to follow a healthy diet, limiting the consumption of alcohol and drinking lots of water.