Liver Cirrhosis – Causes and Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis
Liver cirrhosis is a condition in which the liver malfunctions and deteriorates due to chronic injury. It develops as a result of scarring of healthy liver tissue and thus blocks the blood flow through the liver. Liver carries out many functions such as making proteins, purifying the blood and killing the harmful substances. Scarring of the liver impairs its ability to perform these functions. Cirrhosis occurs in response to diseases and conditions that cause chronic damage to the liver. It can be life threatening if not treated at early stages.
Causes of Liver Cirrhosis
Liver cirrhosis has various causes. Each time the liver is damaged due to any disease condition, the liver tries to repair itself. In this repairing process, scarring of the tissue occurs. As the scars form, liver finds difficult to function and at last it fails to work. The conditions that lead to cirrhosis are:
- Copper accumulation in the liver (Wilson’s disease)
- Problems in storing and releasing energy in the cells for proper functioning
- Poorly formed bile ducts in babies
- Autoimmune hepatitis (liver disease caused by immune system)
- Iron buildup in the body
- Inability to process sugars in milk
- Scaring and hardening of bile ducts
- Accumulation of fat in the liver
- Destruction of bile ducts
- Cystic fibrosis
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Intake of excess alcohol
- Prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals
Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis
The signs and symptoms associated with liver cirrhosis include:
- Weight loss
- Swelling in the legs
- Loss of appetite
- Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
- Easy bruising
- Bleeding occurs easily
- Spider-like blood vessels on the skin
- Yellowing of skin due to accumulation of bilirubin in the blood
Consult a doctor immediately if you experience the signs and symptoms related to liver cirrhosis and get diagnosed.
Diagnosis of Liver Cirrhosis
Doctor diagnoses liver cirrhosis by physical examination and performing certain tests. The tests are:
- Liver biopsy is an examination of a piece of liver under a microscope to look for the scarred tissue. This is the most accurate way to diagnose the condition.
- X-rays, ultrasound images or magnetic resonance imaging are the tests that reveal the pictures of liver through sound waves. They show the shrunken or the enlarged liver.
- Blood tests show how the liver works. They reveal the levels of bilirubin and other substances of liver.