Cirrhosis of the Liver: Symptoms, Stages and Life Expectancy

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Cirrhosis of the Liver: Symptoms, Stages and Life Expectancy
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There are various causes, which may lead to cardiac cirrhosis. They include heart failure, smoking, or the heart muscle infection.

8. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver

Nonalcoholic fatty liver is a condition in which fat accumulates in your liver, which leads to scar tissue and consequently to liver damage. In medical terms it is often referred to as steatohepatitis.

This particular kind of cirrhosis is usually caused by obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease, taking corticosteroids, or protein malnutrition.

How Is Cirrhosis Diagnosed

Your doctor may suspect cirrhosis in you based on the physical examination, your symptoms, and medical history. If you are an alcohol abuser or you take some medications for years, it also puts you in the risk group. Thus, it’s extremely important to be honest with your doctor and be very thorough in describing your habits and symptoms.

Unfortunately, the condition is often diagnosed in an advanced stage, when some complications occur, such as jaundice, ascites, abdominal pains or cramps, and unexplained bleeding.

The most basic test is of course a blood test as it may tell you something about the functioning of your liver. Unfortunately, in an early stage of cirrhosis the results may not reveal anything suspicious. Examinations such as CT scan or ultrasound will check the surface of your liver.

Liver biopsy is probably the most reliable test and the only way to confirm or rule out cirrhosis in 100 percent. It’s a procedure in which a small part of your tissue is removed and studied under a microscope in order to find any scarring and fibrosis.

Laparoscope is also an option to detect cirrhosis. In this examination your liver is viewed due to a tiny camera which is inserted through your abdomen into your liver.

How Is Cirrhosis Treated

The treatment always depends on the stage of the disease and the complications it causes. At some point of the disease, some changes to liver damage are irreversible, but the progression of the disease can be stopped or at least slowed down.

For sure, you need to start taking double care of your weakened liver by introducing some healthy habits and dietary changes into you daily lifestyle and take them seriously. The most important is to quit drinking alcohol at all as it may significantly contribute to the inhibition of the disease.

Additionally, be careful when you take any medicines as they may harm your liver as well. Watch out for ibuprofen or acetaminophen and always take the medicines they way your doctor tells you.

If you have problems with fluid retention, a low-sodium diet is recommended. Also, make sure that your diet is full of minerals, vitamins, and protein. Your doctor may suggest you taking some supplements.

In most cases medical treatment for cirrhosis is limited to relieving the symptoms. Therefore, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, or penicillamine may be prescribed. If a patient suffers from portal hypertension, so called beta-blockers are used.

If you experience ascites, you will take diuretics, which help to remove the excess fluid from your body. It will make you urinate more frequently. Sometimes, a special needle is inserted into your abdomen, which removes the fluid from your body. There are cases when the fluid gets infected and antibiotics are a must then.

Itching may be relieved by certain medications while clotting disorders are regulated by protein and vitamins intake. In a more advanced stage of cirrhosis, hospital treatment is needed.

The only way which gives you a chance of full recovery is liver transplantation. However, it’s always an individual matter and only your doctor can decide it if should be considered in your case.

Cirrhosis – Life Expectancy

Life expectancy with cirrhosis depends on the stage it was diagnosed. The studies clearly show that the if the patient starts his or her treatment in the stage one or two of the disease, there is only about two percent risk of death one year after the diagnosis.

In the stage three of cirrhosis the risk of death one year after the diagnosis increases to 20 percent. Stage four of the disease is the worst and only forty three percent of sufferers manage to survive a year from the diagnosis.

Of course, the exact predictions are impossible as they are very individual and vary from person to person. In an advanced stage of cirrhosis often the only option is a liver transplant. The statistics prove that eighty percent of sufferers live after the transplant for longer than five years.

Unfortunately, even if you get on the list for the transplant, the queue is long and the availability of the liver transplant is very low. What’s more, sometimes the patient’s organism rejects the liver, which is usually fatal.

If the liver is accepted by the patient’s body, he or she will still have to lead a very strict lifestyle and follow the recommended treatment.

How to Prevent Cirrhosis Development

As cirrhosis is an extremely serious and life-threatening disease, which devastates the whole of your body over long years, it’s worth taking some measures in order to prevent the disease.

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