Liver is a crucial organ in the body which performs several significant processes like controlling the infection by eliminating unhealthy bacteria as well as toxins in blood. It processes nutrients, drugs and hormones in the body. It is responsible for producing bile which is crucial for normal digestive function as they absorb cholesterol and helps in digesting fats. Cirrhosis of liver is a concerning medical condition. Under this condition, the healthy tissues of liver gets replaced with scar tissue. This gradually causes deterioration of liver functions. In a healthy state, the liver can replace damaged cells with good cells. However, as cirrhosis advances the liver loses its self-repairing ability. This eventually results in symptoms that hinder the quality of life.
Symptoms of Cirrhosis of the liver
Cirrhosis often manifests itself through various symptoms. Usually during the initial stages of the condition there is hardly any symptoms of the disorder recorded. Due to accumulation of scar tissue, the functioning of the liver is undermined. Here are some reported symptoms of liver cirrhosis.
- Occurrence of blood capillaries on upper abdomen skin
- Itchiness of skin
- Reduced appetite
- Reduction in body weight
- Pain on the location of liver
- Red blotches on the palm
Symptoms of progressed cirrhosis
- Ascites, a condition wherein the fluids get accumulated in the abdomen causing the stomach to appear larger
- Increased heartbeat
- Alteration in personality
- Bleeding from gums
- Loss of mass in upper body and arms
- Inability of body to process alcohol
- Inability of the body to process drugs
- Fluid accumulation on feet, legs and ankles
- Hair loss
- Decreased sex drive
- Memory issues
- Frequents episodes of fever
- Cramps in muscles
- Bleeding from nose
- Right shoulder pain
- Tarry or black stools or else pale feces
- Darker urine
- Bloody vomit
- Staggered walking
Stage 1: During the early stage of the condition there is often no symptoms exhibited by the body. However, if a close inspection is done jaundice, dryness of mouth, upper stomach enlargement, etc, are recorded in some cases. A person may also suffer from itching sensation. Proper medical diagnosis can help in detecting anomalous tissues in liver and inflammation of liver.
During this stage of cirrhosis of liver the anomalous tissues converts into rigid straps of connective tissues. This phenomenon is called fibrosis. This condition influences the portal veins as well as surrounding regions.
During the third stage of cirrhosis of liver these bands starts merging with each other. This makes the affected area enlarged. Usually disruption of liver functioning is also detected during this phase. The person experiencing 3rd stage of liver cirrhosis will find it difficult to digest fats. Improper absorption of fat-soluble nutrients can also lead to deficiency of vitamin.
The final stage of cirrhosis of liver is decompensating in nature. The 4th stage is considered as the most dreaded phase of the condition. In this advanced stage the patient is left with only one treatment option that is liver transplant. All the symptoms of the disorder worsen during the 4th stage of liver cirrhosis.
Life expectancy during liver cirrhosis
Stage 4 of liver cirrhosis can lead to severe health issues such as portal hypertension, liver hardening, kidney malfunction, spleen swelling and fluid accumulation in the body. Affected individual may also notice reduction in bone mass and density of bone becomes depleted. The body loses its potential to detoxify itself causing toxin concentration in the body. This may cause serious confusion or even lead to coma. It is recorded that cirrhosis of liver is ranked as third physical disease which can lead to death following heart condition and cancer. The type of cirrhosis is determined based on the cause of the condition. Alcoholic cirrhosis is said to have worst consequences as compared with biliary cirrhosis and hepatitis cirrhosis.
If the condition is detected during its initial stages that the life expectancy of the patient may go up to 15 to 20 years. If the condition is detected during its second stage then the patient may have around 6 to 10 years of life expectancy. During these stages the affected person has the option of liver transplant or use of some sophisticated advanced medicines etc. However, if the condition is diagnosed during its last stage than the expectancy of life of the sufferer is unfortunately 1 year to 3 years. This would greatly depend on the overall health of the patient, intensity of the experienced symptoms and availability of effective treatment.
Remember that cirrhosis of liver does not begin spontaneously, but it develops over years with constant damages to the liver. After damages the condition consistently deteriorates the liver causing it to stop functioning. If you overlook any underlying liver anomaly then you may become prone to serious health issues. Treatment of cirrhosis will help in stopping or reducing the progression of the condition. It is crucial for you to undergo regular medical checkup to track the progression of the condition and accordingly treatment will be suggested by the doctor.
It is said that damages to liver cannot be undone. The patient has the option to control and prevent further damages by using available options. It is very crucial to cease alcohol consumption in order to avoid adversities of the condition. At the same time it is significant to monitor the medicines that you use. In some cases anti-inflammatory medications may also aggravate the condition so ensure that you take your medicines only after thorough consultation with your doctor.
It is also suggested to restrict fat consumption while you are undergoing treatment. It is crucial to have healthy vegetables and fruits. Herbal medicines have showed impressive effects in many cases of cirrhosis of liver. But ask your doctor whether these herbal medicines can be administered simultaneously along with your regular medical regimen. Usually herbal medicines do not have any reaction or side effects which is why they are safe. Patients suffering from this condition can also try certain vitamins and minerals to improve and restore liver to its normal functioning. Though early diagnosed cases can be handled with medicines in some severe situation transplant is the only option left. Hence, if presence of cirrhosis of liver is suspected it is crucial to consult a doctor.