Cirrhosis of the liver is a condition that happens due to prolonged liver scarring. After every liver problem you experience, the organ tries to heal itself, forming scar tissue; inflammation, which can result from liver diseases, long-standing alcoholism, or other injuries, causes the tissues in the liver to scar. When the scar tissues increase, it gives rise to liver cirrhosis.
The disease takes time and occurs in many stages. As per studies conducted in 2017, more than 1.32 million deaths occurred due to liver cirrhosis worldwide. Reports also show that those who are alcohol addicts, overweight, or have viral hepatitis are more likely to fall prey to the disease.
This article discusses everything related to cirrhosis and Mumbai’s best hospital for liver cirrhosis treatment.
Liver Cirrhosis Stages & Symptoms
The disease of liver cirrhosis occurs in stages and can be tricky. Spread across four main stages, the intensity and symptoms of the condition vary. Initially, there are no notable signs or symptoms. It is only during the advanced stage of the disease that disturbing symptoms start to show; at this point, the liver damage is usually too adverse to be cured.
Some signs of liver cirrhosis are:
- Feelings of exhaustion
- Swelling of the liver
- Appetite loss
- Itchy skin
- Weight gain/Weight loss
- Jaundice (discoloration of the skin and the eyes)
- Unusual urination
Liver Cirrhosis damages the liver and its tissues. As discussed earlier, chronic alcohol consumption, viral infections like Hepatitis B and C, and obesity are the most common causes. The other causes include:
- Genetic digestive problems
- Inherited diseases like cystic fibrosis
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Hemochromatosis (excess iron build-up in the liver)
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Damage or disease of bile ducts
- Wilson disease (excess copper build-up in the liver)
- Accumulation of fat in the liver
The asymptomatic pattern of liver cirrhosis makes it difficult to be detected. However, the painful symptoms of the later stages make the presence of the disease prominent. At other times, a regular blood test can detect liver cirrhosis. After that, doctors use procedures like biopsy, laboratory tests, and imaging tests to diagnose further and treat the disease.
The laboratory tests such as advanced blood tests help the doctor find out an underlying liver disease that you might have. For example, it checks enzymes indicative of liver damage and the presence of viral infections such as hepatitis.
Imaging tests like CT scan, MRI, MRE, or the ultrasound of the liver are often referred by the doctors while trying to diagnose a case of cirrhosis as they help detect the stiffening of the liver. Biopsy or tissue sampling is another way of diagnosing liver cirrhosis. It is seldom used but helps the doctors to gauge the intensity and cause of liver damage.
Nowadays, many super specialty hospitals house world-class doctors and medical technology to carry out advanced diagnoses and can be easily listed as Mumbai’s best hospital for liver cirrhosis.
How to treat Liver Cirrhosis?
With the severity of liver damage fluctuating from one stage to another, the treatment for different stages of liver cirrhosis also differs. While the main aim of the treatment is to hinder the scarring of the liver tissues, it also targets to cure the reason for the liver damage.
There are various treatment methods for liver cirrhosis, such as:
Medication – Doctors treating liver cirrhosis often prescribes medicine that can cure the cause of the liver damage. For example, for patients suffering from swelling or itchy skin, diuretic medicines and skin creams are given. Those having liver cirrhosis due to viral infections are prescribed antiviral medicines. Your doctor can also give antibiotics and vaccinations to treat problems like hepatitis which is a potential cause of liver cirrhosis.
Changes in Lifestyle & Diet – Apart from medicines, every doctor’s primary advice for a liver cirrhosis patient is a lifestyle and dietary changes. Quitting habits like alcohol consumption or smoking can be beneficial to treating and preventing cirrhosis. Exercising regularly and keeping weight under check also fastens the treatment process. Dietary changes like developing a minimal salt diet and providing your body with all required nutrients are also good ways to treat liver cirrhosis gradually.
Surgery – A liver transplant surgery is often the only way of treating liver cirrhosis in its advanced stages. The damage to the liver is so severe in these stages that the only option is to replace the damaged liver with a healthy one. Liver transplant surgery is one of the most successful treatments of alcoholic liver cirrhosis.
Liver cirrhosis can be caused by reasons both controllable and uncontrollable. And even though the initial stages of the disease are curable with the help of simple medication and life changes, the advanced stages can be extremely complicated. Unfortunately, some greater complications resulting from advanced cirrhosis, like liver cancer or portal hypertension, are irreversible. Thus, it is best to follow the prevention methods or get yourself checked regularly; make sure to get checked by qualified doctors who specialize in treating cirrhosis, and try to look for specialists in Mumbai’s best hospitals for liver cirrhosis.
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