What does cirrhosis mean ?
This 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 scar tissue blocks the flow of blood through the liver and slows the liver’s ability to process nutrients, hormones, drugs, and natural toxins. The disease develops slowly over months or years.
As the disease worsens, a person may become tired, weak, itchy, have swelling in the lower legs, develop yellow skin, bruise easily and have fluid build up in the body or develop spider-like blood vessels on the skin.
Cause : Alcohol
Toxins, including alcohol, are broken down by the liver. However, if the amount of alcohol is too high, the liver will be overworked, and liver cells can eventually become damaged. Drinking too much can make the liver swell and hold on to more fat. This could lead to cirrhosis.
Cause : Hepatitis
Hepatitis C can damage the liver and eventually lead to cirrhosis. Hepatitis C is a common cause of cirrhosis in many parts of the world. Cirrhosis can also be caused by hepatitis B and D.
Cause : Genetic conditions
There are some inherited conditions that can lead to cirrhosis, including:
• Hemochromatosis: Too much iron in the body.
• Wilson’s disease: An inherited disorder that causes too much copper to accumulate in the organs.
Cause : Blockage of the bile ducts
Some conditions and diseases, such as cancer of the bile ducts, or cancer of the pancreas, can block the bile ducts, increasing the risk of cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis cannot be cured, so treatment aims to manage the symptoms and any complications and stop the condition getting worse. If one has alcohol addiction, he or she should find out about a therapy to help quit. Weight loss can help for a fatty liver. Drugs can treat infections, bile duct problems, or autoimmune disorders. Consult a doctor to figure out what’s causing your cirrhosis and how best to treat it.
1. Adam F, December 2017. Everything you need to know about liver cirrhosis. Available at https://medicalnewstoday.com
2. Webmd. Cirrhosis and your liver. Available at https://webmd.com