Cirrhosis

At TransSouth Health Care, we treat many patients who are diagnosed with Cirrhosis, the late stage of scarring of the liver which can be caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions.  Cirrhosis is commonly associated with alcohol abuse, hepatitis, and fatty liver.  Since the liver is necessary for detoxifying harmful elements in your body as well as cleaning your blood and making vital nutrients, Cirrhosis must be treated carefully.

Cirrhosis: It’s Complicated

Cirrhosis can truly create complications in your body.  Blood flow is one of the main complications associated with Cirrhosis.  Blood flow complications can include enlargement of the spleen (splenomegaly), swelling in the legs and abdomen, and high blood pressure in the veins that supply the liver (portal hypertension).  Portal hypertension can also put a strain on smaller veins, causing them to burst.  Cirrhosis can slow the blood flow through the liver, creating pressure in the veins which carry blood from the spleen and intestines to the liver.

Cirrhosis is also known to create challenges such as malnutrition, jaundice, bone disease, acute-on-chronic cirrhosis, gallstones, bile duct stones, and is also linked to increased risk of liver cancer.  Your body may also have difficulty in fighting infections, which can lead to other more serious infections and bacterial complications in your body.  Clearing toxins from the blood also creates build up in the brain and can cause mental confusion, with more severe cases leading to unresponsiveness or coma.

What Causes Cirrhosis?

In an effort to prevent further liver damage, it is important to determine the cause of Cirrhosis in your body.  Overall, Cirrhosis is the result of scar tissue that forms in your liver in a response to damage that has occurred over a period of time.  The healing process in our bodies is unique, and our liver is no different.  Anytime that our liver is injured, the body responds by creating scar tissue.  As that tissue continues to build up, the function of the liver becomes worse, and in some cases, fails to perform as it should.

Cirrhosis is thought to be inherited in some instances.  If you are diagnosed with Cirrhosis but do not fall under one of these causes below, you may be considered part of the estimated 20% that has cryptogenic cirrhosis.  Regardless, here are a few causes of cirrhosis:

  • Chronic Alcohol Abuse
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis
  • Alagille Syndrome
  • Inherited disorders of sugar metabolism such as galactosemia or glycogen storage disease
  • Wilson’s Disease
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Hardening and Scarring of the Bile Ducts
  • Infection by a parasite common in developing countries (Schistosomiasis)

The Warning Signs of Cirrhosis

Although Cirrhosis often has no signs or symptoms up until liver damage is extensive, there are some common warning signs.  Fatigue, itchy skin, loss of appetite, nausea, abnormal weight loss, and confusion have all been linked to Cirrhosis, but are undetected as symptoms of Cirrhosis by patients due to lack of knowledge regarding these warning signs.  Other more obvious symptoms include bleeding or bruising easily, jaundice, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, swelling in the legs, and spider-like blood vessels throughout your skin.  If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, we recommend scheduling a consultation at TransSouth Health Care.