What is Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is an ailment where the chronic liver disease in a person reaches the final stage leading to irreversible scarring of the liver. The liver is damaged completely and ceases to function normally. There are various reasons that lead to this stage in a person, but the main ones are said to be alcohol abuse and Hepatitis B or C. In addition to these, in some people, cirrhosis occurs due to prolonged medication that leads to liver damage over a period of time.

The common symptoms of cirrhosis are as discussed below. The person suffering from this ailment suffers from vomiting, nausea and presence of blood in the stools or the vomit. In men, the development of breast like projections (gynecomastia) is seen and a gradual decrease in sexual interest also has been reported. Sudden loss of appetite and weight is also said to be one of the main symptoms of this disease. The appearance of spider web like blood vessels on the skin can also be an indication about the ailment. In some cases, the accumulation of fluids occurs in the abdomen of the person and edema of the legs is also reported.

The diagnosis for cirrhosis includes computed tomography and ultrasound of the abdominal region, a blood count test to check possibilities of anemia and tests to check for any possible enlargement of the spleen in the person. In most cases, the presence of cirrhosis is detected by the above mentioned test. In case, confusion of any kind persists, the doctors go for liver biopsy that clearly confirms the presence of cirrhosis. However, it is to be noted that the risk factor involved in biopsy is considerably high when the person reaches the last stages of cirrhosis. Thus, it is to be considered as an option only when the clinical tests do not confirm cirrhosis.

As a first step in the treatment of cirrhosis, the person needs to completely stop the intake of alcohol as this is said to be the main risk factor. Reduction in the amount of salt content in the food also helps in better treatment of the disease. Such patients also need to get vaccinated for Hepatitis B and C to avoid the risk factor due to the ailment. In worst cases, when the liver fails to function, the best possible method of treatment is to go for a liver transplant. The other complications like excess fluid in the abdominal region need to be removed by the process of paracentesis.

It is to be noted that cirrhosis, if not provided adequate treatment, can lead to severe complications that may result in the complete destruction of liver functions, thereby, resulting in the death of the patient.

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