Cirrhosis is a medical condition characterised by the permanent damage or scarring of the liver. The formation of scar tissue impacts the liver's functionality, affecting protein production, the storage of vitamins and minerals, toxin elimination, and blood flow.

What Causes Cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis can arise from various factors:

  • Chronic alcohol abuse
  • Hepatitis types B, C, and D
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Iron accumulation in the body
  • Wilson’s disease due to copper build-up in the liver
  • Bile duct obstructions leading to liver scarring
  • Fatty liver causing chronic liver inflammation
  • Long-term exposure to certain medications or toxins
  • Repeated heart failure incidents

Recognising the Symptoms of Cirrhosis

Many individuals with cirrhosis experience limited to no symptoms. However, based on the disease's progression, complications can arise:

  • Fatigue, appetite loss, nausea, and weight loss
  • Menstruation irregularities in women; men may experience enlarged breast tissue or reduced libido
  • Swelling in the legs or abdomen
  • Proneness to bruising or bleeding
  • Skin and eye jaundice
  • Skin itching from bile deposits
  • Mental disturbances due to toxin accumulation in the blood
  • Medicine sensitivity due to reduced liver filtration
  • Severe bleeding in the stomach or esophagus – a life-threatening situation requiring urgent medical care

Diagnosing Cirrhosis

Diagnosis involves:

  • Evaluating symptom history
  • Undertaking blood tests
  • Employing imaging techniques like CT scans or ultrasounds
  • Measuring liver stiffness
  • Taking a tissue sample (biopsy)

Treatment Approaches for Cirrhosis

The primary objectives of treatment are managing the condition by reducing scar tissue progression in the liver and addressing complications. This involves treating the root cause, while patients are also advised to prevent further liver damage, potentially leading to liver failure.

Tips for Managing and Preventing Cirrhosis Complications

To enhance treatment outcomes and minimise complications, consider the following:

  • Abstain from alcohol consumption
  • Sidestep medications or substances harmful to the liver
  • Avoid consuming raw food, especially seafood, to prevent bacterial infections
  • Maintain a balanced protein intake with lean proteins like fish or legumes like soy
  • Refrain from adding salt to meals if experiencing leg or abdominal swelling
  • Ensure vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, influenza, and pneumonia – crucial due to compromised immunity from cirrhosis
  • Regularly consult a doctor for condition monitoring