Encyclopedia

Cirrhosis

What is cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease. It causes damage to normal liver tissue.

If the damage is not stopped, the liver gradually loses its ability to perform its normal functions.

This condition is called liver failure. Often the progression of the disease to liver failure is slow and gradual.

If the damage is not too severe, the liver will heal over time.

What are the symptoms of cirrhosis?

In the early stages of cirrhosis, many people do not show any obvious symptoms, which makes this disease especially dangerous because patients usually do not realize the problem until it is at an advanced stage, when serious liver damage is present.

However, when symptoms do occur, they can be varied and are due to the increased workload on the remaining healthy parts of the liver to compensate for its loss of functionality.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of cirrhosis:

  1. Fatigue and Exhaustion: Due to impaired liver function, the body is unable to process nutrients effectively, resulting in fatigue and exhaustion.
  2. Weakness: Patients with cirrhosis usually experience weakness and feel exhausted even with light physical exertion.
  3. Nausea and Vomiting: The liver plays an important role in the process of breaking down toxins and drugs in the body. In cirrhosis, this process is impaired, which can lead to an increase in toxins in the blood and cause nausea and vomiting.
  4. Loss of appetite: During the development of cirrhosis, patients’ appetite decreases significantly, which can lead to weight loss.
  5. Increased red blood cells (anemia): An increased imbalance of red blood cells can lead to anemia, which leads to additional fatigue and weakness.
  6. Loss of sexual desire: Cirrhosis can lead to liver dysfunction that reduces the production of sex hormones, leading to decreased libido and sexual desire.

If similar symptoms appear, it is important to seek medical help.

Cirrhosis is a serious disease and requires competent treatment and appropriate measures to maintain liver functionality and prevent further damage.

Regular consultations with a doctor and adherence to prescribed treatment regimens are essential to managing this disease and improving the patient’s quality of life.

What are the complications of cirrhosis?

Symptoms may not appear until complications of cirrhosis occur. And many people don’t know they have cirrhosis until they develop complications such as:

  • Jaundice;
  • Fever;
  • Vomiting;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Itching;
  • Abdominal pain – from the swelling of the liver or from the formation of gallstones;
  • Weight gain – from fluid retention;
  • Swelling of the ankles due to fluid retention;
  • Difficulty breathing again due to fluid retention;
  • Bleeding from the gums and nose;
  • Sensitivity to drugs;
  • Presence of blood in vomit and stools;
  • Loss of muscle mass .

What are the causes of the disease?

Cirrhosis can be caused by a number of diseases and clinical conditions such as:

  • Long-term inflammation, poisons, infections;
  • Cardiovascular diseases, as well as chronic hepatitis and alcoholism.

These are the most common causes, but in up to 30 to 50% of cases, the cause of cirrhosis is never found.

Treatment of cirrhosis

Treatment of cirrhosis cannot return the liver to the state it was in before the disease started, but it can stop or slow the progression of the disease and reduce complications.

Treatment depends on what is causing the cirrhosis and what specific complications, if any, have occurred.

  • Stop drinking alcohol. If you stop drinking alcohol and don’t drink at all, you can slow the progression of the disease and feel much better.
  • Limit your salt intake if you retain fluids. A diet that includes the consumption of foods with a low sodium content helps to alleviate this problem.
  • Eat a balanced diet that provides enough calories and protein through food. You can also drink multivitamins, but before you start, ask your doctor.

When you have portal hypertension, a condition caused by increased pressure in the blood vessels, beta blockers are prescribed to lower blood pressure.

In case of fluid retention, a diuretic is prescribed to help remove excess water from the body. This medicine will make you urinate more often.

How to protect yourself from cirrhosis?

The best way to protect yourself from cirrhosis is to avoid the risk of developing the diseases that cause it.

  • Know the risk factors for hepatitis B and C and try to limit them as much as possible.
  • Avoid risky behaviors such as drug abuse alcohol, drug use. Do not have unprotected sex.
  • Drink alcohol without excess.
  • Create healthy habits. Avoid smoking. Eat healthy, alternate physical activity with time to rest.
  • If possible, immunize yourself against hepatitis B and thus you will significantly reduce the risk of cirrhosis.

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