The liver is classed as a gland. This vital organ carries out more than 500 roles in the human body. It is the only organ that can regenerate in the body& it is an organ only found in vertebrates which detoxifies various metabolites, synthesizes proteins and produces biochemical necessary for digestion and growth. The damage to any part of liver leads to Liver cirrhosis. Liver Cirrhosis is a complication of liver disease that involves loss of liver cells and irreversible scarring of the liver. The damage in the liver part leads to liver cirrhosis usually due to excessive consumption of alcohol or due to Hepatitis B or C. Liver cirrhosis or hepatic cirrhosis, is a condition in which the liver does not function properly due to long-term damage. This damage is characterized by the replacement of normal liver tissue by scar tissue. The disease develops slowly over months or years. Chronic liver damage from a variety of causes leading to scarring and liver failure. Alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C are common causes of cirrhosis, although there are many other causes.
Cirrhosis can cause weakness, loss of appetite, easy bruising, yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and fatigue.
Diagnosis of cirrhosis can be suggested by history, physical examination and blood tests, and can be confirmed by liver biopsy.
Complications of cirrhosis include:
- Swelling of the abdomen (ascites/ fluid accumulation) and/or in the hip, thigh, leg, ankle, and foot
- Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis
- Bleeding from varices
- Hepatic encephalopathy
- Hypersplenism ( Increase in size of spleen )
Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis
Initially patients may experience fatigue, weakness and weight loss. During later stages, patients may develop jaundice (yellowing of the skin), gastrointestinal bleeding, abdominal swelling and confusion.
- Treatments focus on the underlying cause. In advanced cases, a liver transplant may be done. Treatment of cirrhosis is designed to prevent further damage to the liver and preventing or detecting liver cancer early.
- Transplantation of the liver is an important option for treating patients with advanced cirrhosis.
- There is no cure for cirrhosis of the liver, and for some people the prognosis is poor. The life expectancy for advanced cirrhosis is 6 months to 2 years depending on complications of cirrhosis, and if no donor is available for liver transplantation, the life expectancy for people with cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis can be as high as 50%.