Your liver performs vital functions in your body. It reduces the number of harmful substances in the bloodstream, breaks down fat, manufactures bile for digestion, and stores nutrients – and returns some of them back to the bloodstream. Therefore, any issues with your liver can have implications for the rest of your body.
One of the most common conditions that can affect the liver is cirrhosis. In cirrhosis, healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue as the liver tries to repair itself from damage. However, this scar tissue can negatively impact its normal functioning.
If you have liver cirrhosis, you can expect problems with nutrient absorption and elimination of toxins. Let’s talk about what cirrhosis is and what can be done about it.
Cirrhosis: A Type of Liver Disease
Cirrhosis is a slowly developing disease. Eventually, the liver will not be able to function normally, because its cells will be full of scar tissue getting in the way.
You may wonder what causes cirrhosis of the liver and whether it can be prevented. Some of the most common causes are:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Hepatitis D
- Long-term exposure to toxins
- Long-term use of certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs
The symptoms of cirrhosis include loss of appetite, lack of energy, bruising of the skin, yellowing of the skin and eyes, fluid retention, and unexplained weight loss. However, cirrhosis symptoms usually appear only in the late stages of the disease.
Too much scar tissue in the liver eventually affects healthy liver function, and advanced-stage liver cirrhosis can be fatal. Complications of cirrhosis include infection, high blood pressure, hepatic encephalopathy, bone disease, and liver cancer.
Treating Liver Cirrhosis
Liver cirrhosis is indeed usually preventable. Controllable factors are weight, diet, and alcohol consumption. Hepatitis B and C are usually transmitted via shared needles or having unprotected sex.
Once you have cirrhosis, treatment involves methods to slow down the progression of the disease and to thwart further development of scar tissue in the liver. Your doctor may recommend medication to treat the underlying issues like hepatitis B and C and to thereby control the progression of the disease.
If cirrhosis is brought on by alcohol abuse and unhealthy weight and diet, treatment plans will include lifestyle and dietary restrictions and weight loss. Reversal of cirrhosis has been reported, but that is rare.
Gastroenterologists in Greater Cleveland
If you suspect that you have cirrhosis, or if your lifestyle puts you at risk of developing this condition, have the gastroenterologists at North Shore Gastroenterology examine your condition and devise a diagnosis. Our medical team has the skills and experience to efficiently diagnose and treat all types of digestive conditions and disorders – so you can trust us with your care.
To schedule a consultation with one of our physicians, contact our team at North Shore Gastroenterology today by calling us at (440) 808-1212 or fill out our easy-to-use appointment request form now. We have convenient locations in Greater Cleveland, and we look forward to serving you.