Liver Cirrhosis: Symptoms, Life Expectancy, Stages.

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The liver being one of the largest internal organs of our body performs multiple vital functions. A person cannot survive without it. The liver is said to perform almost 500 functions in the human body. Functions like filtering the blood and eventually breaking down harmful substances. The harmful substances are reduced to bile, which exits the body through the stool. Another important function of the liver is digestion by secreting bile. Other functions include protein synthesis, detoxification, and storing of vitamins & minerals. All of these functions get affected when the liver does not function normally. Liver Cirrhosis is one of the most serious diseases of the liver.

What is liver Cirrhosis?

Liver cirrhosis is a condition in which the healthy liver tissue is substituted by scar tissues. Which leads to permanent liver damage. It can be said that cirrhosis is a late-stage liver disease that affects the normal functioning of the liver. Due to multiple reasons, healthy liver cells are injured. Injury leads to death or inflammation of healthy liver cells. The injured cells are repaired by the body leading to tissue scarring. The liver can no longer function normally because the scar tissue restricts blood flow through the liver leading to a weaker ability to process nutrients, hormones, drugs, and natural toxins. The production of protein, bile, and other substances is also reduced. The liver tissue eventually becomes fibrotic due to inflammation and the death of cells.

Factors causing liver cirrhosis.

*Alcohol Abuse- Alcohol consumption for many years may lead to alcoholic liver disease.

*Viral Hepatitis- Having chronic viral infections like hepatitis B and hepatitis C of the liver for a long time.

*Diabetes- Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to liver cell injury.

*Obesity- High body mass index may lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

*History of liver disease- Patients with a history of liver diseases are more prone to liver cirrhosis.

*People using shared needles to inject drugs are at a greater risk.

*In some cases it has been seen that people having unprotected sex with multiple partners may cause autoimmune hepatitis which may cause liver cirrhosis.

*Inherited causes- Some of the inherited causes leading to liver cirrhosis are Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, Wilson disease, cystic fibrosis, glycogen storage diseases, and alagille syndrome.

*Other factors causing liver cirrhosis includes- chronic heart failure, diseases like amyloidosis, and damage or blockage of bile ducts.

Stages of liver cirrhosis- Liver cirrhosis is classified into four stages. The stages are-

  1. Stage I: Steatosis

The first stage of cirrhosis is seen to have inflammation of the bile duct or liver which causes symptoms like abdominal discomfort. At this stage, the body is trying to fight against the disease or infection which if neglected can lead to liver damage. Issues like inflammation are curable at this stage which can prevent the disease from advancing to the second stage. Hospital in Kerela provides treatment for liver cirrhosis.

  1. Stage II: Scarring of the liver

At this stage, there is scarring of the liver tissues due to inflammation. This is also called fibrosis. Most people are unaware of their liver disease until this stage. Liver disease is mostly detected in Stage II or in some cases in Stage III. Stage I usually go undetected. In this stage, the obstruction of natural blood flow begins in the liver due to scarring and inflammation. This messes with the natural functioning of the liver. Even at this stage if proper treatment is provided further damage to the liver can be restricted.

  1. Stage III: Cirrhosis

At this stage, there is permanent scarring of tissues. Inability to arrest the damage in stage I and stage II the healthy tissue is replaced by scar tissue in the liver. Most healthy liver cells are destroyed over a period of time due to some progressive illness or infection. Permanent scarring of the liver tissue results in a hard and lumpy liver. Eventually, the liver will stop functioning because the growing scar tissue obstructs the blood flow through the portal vein and into the liver. The obstruction of blood in the portal vein may force the blood to flow into the spleen causing more complications.

  1. Stage IV: Liver Failure

Liver failure or advanced liver disease or hepatic failure is the last stage of cirrhosis. At this stage, the liver stops functioning completely. This would need immediate medical intervention to avoid medical fatalities.

Life expectancy-

Life expectancy in patients with liver cirrhosis depends on multiple factors like the cause and severity of the liver cirrhosis. How you are responding to the treatments, whether any cirrhosis complications are present or not, and also age and other co-morbidities are the deciding factors. In the case of compensated cirrhosis life expectancy is around 9 to 12 years. In the case of decompensated cirrhosis life expectancy can vary from 3 months to 2 years. Liver cirrhosis treatment in Kerala is a good option for one to consider if looking for high quality treatment at affordable costs in India.

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