Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Cirrhosis of the Liver

3

Cirrhosis of the liver is a disease that affects the liver. It may be diagnosed in the initial stages or progress to a more advanced stage. The severity of cirrhosis can be determined with blood tests. Magnetic resonance elastography (MRI) and other imaging tests may also be used in diagnosis. Tissue samples may also be taken for testing.

Stage I

Cirrhosis of the liver is a disease in which healthy liver cells gradually get replaced by scar tissue. It is progressive and can take many years to develop. It starts with inflammation of the liver and bile duct. This inflammation is often accompanied by abdominal discomfort. If left untreated, it can cause extensive damage to the liver. Fortunately, symptomatic inflammation is curable during the first stage of cirrhosis, and treatment can prevent it from progressing to the more advanced stage.

In this stage of the disease, the liver is wholly scarred and cannot heal itself. The disease has a life expectancy of several decades, but it is not terminal. Symptoms of the disease include discomfort, tenderness, outright pain, a loss of appetite, and fatigue. There may also be an increase in the fluid in the body around the liver.

Treatment for cirrhosis of the liver depends on the severity of the disease and the cause. Although cirrhosis is a grim diagnosis, early detection and prevention are essential. With proper treatment, the disease can be reversed. You can improve your chances of beating the disease with the proper diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle.

In some cases, symptoms of cirrhosis include jaundice and fluid buildup in the belly. Large blood vessels called bleeding varices may also develop and lead to black tarry stools or vomiting blood. In addition, in some cases, toxins produced by the liver can cause problems, such as hepatic encephalopathy and fatigue.

Cost

The costs of treating patients with cirrhosis of the liver are substantial, and they increase as the disease worsens. However, cost estimates are highly variable and depend on the source and methodology used. For example, the costs of procedures reported in medical records and the recommendations of the liver experts of IMSS differ.

The economic burden of liver disorders is a huge concern, and liver cirrhosis is no exception. For example, cirrhosis was rated as one of the leading causes of death in the US in 2007. Furthermore, the estimated economic burden of treating the disease is US$14 million to $2 billion. In Europe, the costs of treatment for liver cirrhosis range from EUR50 million to EUR50 million, representing a significant burden on society. For example, the cost of treating the disease in Spain resulted in a loss of EUR3 billion in healthcare spending over 20 years.

The cost of treatment for liver cirrhosis varies widely, but in the US, the costs are higher for those with alcoholic cirrhosis than those with nonalcoholic cirrhosis. In addition, alcoholic cirrhosis accounts for most of the costs associated with the condition. According to the World Health Organization, medical expenses associated with cirrhosis total more than $9.5 billion annually.

Cirrhosis of the liver is a significant cause of death worldwide. According to WHO, the number of people suffering from liver cirrhosis has increased from 676,000 deaths in 1980 to more than 1 million in 2010. The disease is also the fastest-growing cause of cancer-related deaths in developed nations.

Treatment

Cirrhosis of the liver is a condition that can affect the liver. A physical examination and medical history are essential for the diagnosis. The symptoms of the disease may include yellowing of the skin, red veins in the palms, or swelling of the abdomen. Other signs include lower levels of albumin or blood clotting factors. Tests may also show liver failure, increased levels of liver enzymes, and increased iron. In severe cases, surgery or draining of the fluid may be required.

Several medications may be prescribed. Some medicines may weaken the immune system. Antibiotics, especially those used to treat infections, are often recommended. You should also avoid taking certain non-prescription drugs, such as acetaminophen. Alternative medicines, such as milk thistle, are also sometimes used.

The most crucial treatment for liver cirrhosis involves treating the underlying cause. For example, a person with cirrhosis should try to reduce alcohol intake and treat any infection. If these measures fail, a liver transplant may be needed. This procedure is not a simple process, but it is necessary for severe cases of cirrhosis.

Liver cirrhosis can be caused by chronic alcoholism and chronic hepatitis. But about 30 to 50 percent of cases have no known cause. In these cases, the progression to liver failure is slow. So by removing the cause, you can slow the condition’s progression.