Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease that results from damage to liver tissue over time. The disease is most commonly caused by excessive consumption of alcohol or hepatitis C. Unfortunately, most patients do not realize they have cirrhosis until the condition is well advanced and the liver has already sustained significant damage.
In this blog post, we will talk about the causes and symptoms of cirrhosis, why early detection is important, and what you can do to slow its progression.
Chronic Liver Disease, Cirrhosis Symptoms
1. What Causes Cirrhosis?
The liver is a vital organ that carries out essential functions such as removing toxins from the body and producing bile, which helps break down fats in the small intestine.
In people with cirrhosis, the liver gradually loses its ability to perform these functions, leading to a range of symptoms. As scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue, the liver becomes increasingly less efficient, leading to the symptoms of cirrhosis. Some common causes of cirrhosis include:
- Alcoholism: Excessive consumption of alcohol can cause liver inflammation and scarring, eventually leading to cirrhosis.
- Hepatitis C: This is a chronic viral infection that causes liver inflammation and can lead to cirrhosis.
- Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH): This is a type of liver disease caused by fat accumulation in the liver, leading to inflammation and scarring.
- Hemochromatosis: This is a genetic condition that causes the body to store too much iron, leading to liver damage.
- Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC): This is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the bile ducts, leading to liver damage and cirrhosis.
2. What Are the Symptoms of Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis can cause a variety of symptoms, and the severity and type of symptoms may depend on the root cause. For example, people with cirrhosis caused by alcohol abuse may experience different symptoms than those caused by hepatitis C.
Symptoms commonly associated with the condition include fatigue, swelling in the legs and ankles that is symptomatic of fluid retention, jaundice (which presents as yellowing of the skin and eyes), itchy skin, reduced appetite, and weight loss.
Additionally, cirrhosis sufferers could experience more bruising than usual and more difficulty healing from cuts or scrapes, as well as physical pain stemming from abdominal swelling.
Last but not least, confusion or memory problems can also arise from this ailment.
3. Why Early Detection is Crucial
Early detection of cirrhosis is important to prevent further liver damage and improve overall health outcomes.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have cirrhosis until the damage is already severe. That’s why early detection is so important.
With early detection, doctors can monitor the progression of the disease and intervene with treatments that may slow or halt the damage. Plus, catching cirrhosis early may give people a better chance at reversing the damage and living a healthy life.
Cirrhosis can be detected through a series of tests, including imaging tests like an ultrasound or CT scan, blood tests, and a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
4. Treatment Options Available
Although cirrhosis can be difficult to treat, there are several different options available that can help people manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. These options include everything from lifestyle changes to advanced medical treatments.
One treatment that is gaining in popularity is medical marijuana, which has been shown to help alleviate symptoms like pain, nausea, and fatigue in people with cirrhosis. While medical marijuana is not a cure for cirrhosis, it can be an important tool for managing symptoms and improving quality of life. To learn more about how you may be able to manage cirrhosis with medical marijuana, visit Veriheal.
If you or a loved one is struggling with cirrhosis, it’s important to speak with your doctor about all of the different treatment options available so you can develop a customized treatment plan that meets your unique needs.
Understanding the causes and symptoms of cirrhosis is essential to maintaining good liver health. If you have any symptoms of cirrhosis, such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain, it’s essential to make an appointment with your healthcare provider to get diagnosed and receive proper treatment.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by limiting alcohol consumption, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly can also help prevent cirrhosis and improve liver health. Together, with early detection and proper care, you can work towards slowing the progression of cirrhosis to maintain a happy and healthy life.