When a person has an injury in the liver or is suffering from a chronic liver ailment, cirrhosis of the liver can occur. In this condition, the liver slowly deteriorates and malfunctions. Healthy liver tissue will be replaced by scar tissue, causing obstruction in the flow of blood through the liver. As a result, the liver’s functions will be impaired.
The symptoms of cirrhosis are varied. They include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, and abdominal pain. In some people, the first signs of the disease may be seen only when complications have set in. One of these is ascites, in which fluid accumulates in the tissues lining the abdomen. This can lead to bacterial peritonitis, a serious infection. Another complication is jaundice, which occurs due to the liver’s inability to remove enough bilirubin from the blood, causing the yellowish coloring of the skin and whites of the eyes.
People who drink alcohol heavily are the usual victims of cirrhosis of the liver because alcohol disrupts liver functions. Chronic hepatitis, either B or C, can potentially lead to cirrhosis. Sometimes an auto-immune hepatitis condition will also lead to cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis is very serious and usually fatal. While a healthy liver can regenerate damaged cells, a diseased liver cannot. Therefore the liver gradually loses its ability to perform vital functions such as removing bacteria and toxins from the blood, making proteins to regulate blood clotting, producing bile, etc. As a result the body is gradually poisoned by all the toxic material in the blood that the liver was not able to get rid of. Through the blood, the toxins are carried throughout the body, including the brain. This is why cirrhosis is a very dangerous condition.
To diagnose the disease, doctors usually perform a biopsy. A tiny sample of liver tissue is examined under a microscope to see if it has scarring or other signs of cirrhosis.
There are various treatment procedures for cirrhosis of the liver which are resorted to according to the severity of the case. Apart from this there may be other causes which have brought on the condition, and these have to be recognized, considered and treated.