Cirrhosis of the liver is a serious and usually fatal disease because it destroys the liver, one of the most important organs of the body.
Often it is excessive alcohol which causes cirrhosis of the liver, especially if the patient has been an alcoholic for a long time. The liver, which filters alcohol from the blood, is damaged in the course of time and the situation cannot be reversed because the liver cells cannot regenerate. Cirrhosis may also develop from hepatitis; hemochromatosis, a genetic disorder which results from excessive iron which builds up in the heart and other vital organs; and Wilson’s disease, a genetic disorder resulting from excessive storage of copper.
Liver cirrhosis is often asymptomatic; the symptoms may be noticed only when the condition is advanced. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, itching, loss of weight and appetite, fatigue, sleeplessness, jaundice, blood vessels having a spidery appearance, loss of interest in sex, and swollen legs and feet.
You should see a specialist right away when you suspect cirrhosis. The diagnostic process consists of observation, blood tests, and biopsy, in which a tiny piece of liver tissue is taken for microscopic examination. Biopsy is the most reliable way to diagnose the disease.
A healthy liver is very resilient. To keep it healthy, one should cut down on alcohol consumption, which is one of the most frequent causes of cirrhosis. If cirrhosis is diagnosed while still in its initial stages, the liver can still perform its functions though not as efficiently as before. As the disease progresses, the symptoms would include water retention and bloating. The patient would then be put on a salt-free diet and given diuretics. Once the disease is in the advanced stage, only a liver transplant can help the patient. Liver transplants are risky and are therefore performed only on those who are young and strong enough to undergo surgery.
You cannot survive without your liver, so make sure that you avoid causing damage to it. Minimize or abstain from consumption of alcohol while your liver still has the capacity to heal itself and perform its vital functions in your body.