Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Cirrhosis is a serious disease of the liver which is marked by the scarring of the liver tissues as a consequence of its long-term injury. Cirrhosis can be caused by long-term heavy consumption of alcohol, long-term infection with Hepatitis C and other liver diseases. The symptoms of liver cirrhosis are nausea, vomiting of blood, jaundice, weakness, itchiness in the skin and other symptoms. It significantly damages liver tissues that prevent the liver to work properly in a healthy manner.

Is Cirrhosis Always Fatal?

Is Cirrhosis Always Fatal?

Cirrhosis is a chronic scarring disease of the liver tissue that interferes with the normal functioning of the liver. The liver is an important organ of the body that acts as the defense system against infections and toxins and help in digestion of specific nutrients from the foods and store energy. The liver is a regenerative organ that responds to any damage caused by infections, intoxications or injury by scarring of the tissues. With the progress in the disease, the scarring increases leading to continuous compression of its blood vessels leading to the damage of the liver cells. Thus, normal functioning of the liver get interrupted and impaired with the progress of the disease.

The causes of cirrhosis of the liver are following-

Chronic consumption of alcohol- Long-term consumption of the alcohol leads to poisoning of the liver cells. Continuous alcoholism leads to the inflammation of the liver cells and gradual death of the cells. The severity of the disease depends on the amount of alcohol intake and the period of the alcohol abuse.

Hepatitis- Hepatitis causes inflammatory changes resulted from usually viral infection in the liver that leads to the scarring of the liver tissues.

Biliary Cirrhosis- Any blockage in the biliary duct system may result in biliary atresia and liver damage, causing biliary cirrhosis.

Autoimmune Cirrhosis- Autoimmune hepatitis leads to the attack of body's immune system on the liver leading to the death of liver tissues, thereby causing cirrhosis.

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver- diabetes, obesity, coronary artery disease, and protein malnutrition develop non-alcoholic fatty liver which has the potential to cause scarring of the liver tissue and development of cirrhosis.

Congenital diseases- Some of the inherited diseases like Wilson disease, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, cystic fibrosis, galactosemia, and glycogen storage disease are not common, but they can significantly disturb the metabolism mechanism in the liver with scar formation.

Drug Overuse or Drug Abuse or Infections- Long-term intake of certain medicines like acetaminophen, corticosteroids, poisons, environmental toxins and recurrent exposure to the infections with bacteria or parasites may cause damage to the liver and result in cirrhosis.

Cardiac Cirrhosis – Congestion in the heart, heart failure, heart valve disease, smoking and infections in the heart impair its normal functioning that may result in back flow of blood, inflammation of liver with scar formation.

Cirrhosis of the liver is not always fatal. It can be managed if the causing ailment is treated efficiently and the damage impacted on the liver is mild.

The severity of liver cirrhosis can increase by following ways-

Portal Hypertension - Long-term scarring of liver affects the blood supply of portal veins to the rest of the digestive system that may lead to their enlargement and bleeding which can be fatal.

Dysfunction of Liver Tissues- Chronic fibrosis of liver tissues impacts their efficiency and result in serious consequences.

Cancerous growth- Fibrotic regeneration of liver cells can happen at the rapid rate resulting in cancerous growth in the liver.

Conclusion

Cirrhosis of the liver is the disease where the destruction of normal liver tissues happens with the replacement of healthy tissue by fibrosed tissues at a chronic rate. The damage implicated to the liver depends on the cause of the disease.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 28, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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