Cirrhosis is a chronic and potentially life-threatening liver disease. It is caused by damage to liver cells that cause scarring and blocking of blood flow. This scarring can lead to severe complications.
Cirrhosis affects each person differently; its progression can be slow or quick. Symptoms may not appear until the illness is severe, including yellowing of the skin and eyes, fatigue, and fluid retention.
Cirrhosis affects both men and women, but the risk for some types is higher for men. Alcohol abuse is one of the leading causes of cirrhosis and is preventable when a person reduces or stops alcohol abuse.
Cirrhosis is a progressive condition, and an early diagnosis is often linked with better outcomes. Treatment includes medication to relieve symptoms, lifestyle changes such as abstaining from alcohol, and surgery to remove scarring.
Cirrhosis can alter the blood flow to the liver and cause high blood pressure in the veins. This raises the risk of liver cancer and other serious complications.
Cirrhosis can also lead to malnutrition and a decrease in the production of red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can cause a build-up of fluids, and ascites, in the abdominal area.
Infections are also more common in people with cirrhosis, as their weakened immune system puts them at greater risk. Cirrhosis can reduce the body's ability to filter toxins and drugs, so medications should be discussed with a doctor.
Liver failure is a possible complication of cirrhosis and may require a liver transplant. People with cirrhosis should also be aware of the danger of bleeding from portal hypertension.
If a person's cirrhosis is due to alcohol, it is important to abstain from alcohol completely and to follow a healthy lifestyle with regular check-ups. Support from family and friends is essential for long-term recovery.
Nutrition is an essential part of recovery for people with cirrhosis, as the body needs extra energy. Eating a balanced diet with healthy foods can help the body get better.
Finally, it is important to seek medical attention if symptoms of cirrhosis appear. Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce complications and improve the overall outlook for a person with cirrhosis.