Liver Cirrhosis – A False Perception
October 4, 2019
Cirrhosis is a chronic liver condition causing scarring of the liver tissues. Healthy liver tissues are replaced with the scar tissues impairing the ability of normal functioning. Cirrhosis is an irreversible condition and involves treatment goals to treat the complications and slow the progression of the disease. With severe scarring, the liver may stop functioning and a liver transplant is the only recommended treatment option.
Here are a few false perceptions of cirrhosis:
I don’t have any signs, no way I can get cirrhosis
Wrong. Cirrhosis develops slowly and may show no signs for months or years. With the scar tissues in the early stages, the liver still functions normally to fulfill body’s routine metabolism. A very common symptom of cirrhosis is fatigue, but weakness or feeling of tiredness can be due to various other reasons. It’s only when the severity of fibrosis reaches an advanced stage the liver shows symptoms, such as:
- Yellowing of the skin due to bilirubin accumulation
- Psychological health varies due toxins affecting the brain
- Ascites, fluid accumulation in the abdomen due to leakage
- Swelling in the leg
- Loss of appetite
- Dark, tarry stools
- Itchy skin
Am non-alcoholic, so cirrhosis can’t affect me
Wrong. Cirrhosis is an advanced stage of liver fibrosis (scarring) which may be caused by a wide range of diseases. The most common causes of cirrhosis are:
- Hepatitis B and C
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Inherited disorders of copper and iron toxicity
- Infections & toxicity
- Cryptogenic cirrhosis
I may have cirrhosis, but liver, a regenerative organ can recover itself
Wrong. The liver has the ability to recover any injury when the liver is healthy. With cirrhosis, the liver’s regenerative quality declines. And this is the reason why most of the time cirrhosis is irreversible.
I have cirrhosis, yet that doesn’t mean I have cancer of liver
Right. Carcinoma of the liver is one of the probable complications of cirrhosis. In the early stages, it is difficult to diagnose liver cancer. In cirrhosis, the liver specialist will advise regular blood tests and scans for early detection of any signs of cancer. Depending on the factors like location and size of the liver tumor, liver cancer can be treated.
I am gaining weight, this is a positive sign despite having cirrhosis
Weight gain can be due to two reasons:
- Intake of too much calories which can lead to fat deposits and in turn can cause further injury to the liver.
- Due to fluid retention in the body, which may be a sign the liver is deteriorating.
In cirrhosis, a balanced diet is prescribed to provide all the nutrients to the body and avoid muscle loss.
Now that I have cirrhosis, I’m going to require a liver transplant?
The liver keeps performing its routine functions even if badly damaged, and is capable to repair itself until the condition worsen. Treatment for cirrhosis is aimed at managing the symptoms of cirrhosis and complications to prevent further damage. In the more advanced stages, when the liver is severely damaged, liver transplantation is the only treatment option.
I have cirrhosis, will a liver transplant fix my medical issues?
In cirrhosis, a liver transplant is only recommended when medical management fails to control the complications. A liver transplant involves a surgical procedure in which the non functioning liver is replaced with the healthy liver from an organ donor either deceased or living donor. The liver transplant team evaluates the risks and benefits of transplantation. After transplant, to help the new liver sustain in the body, immunosuppressant’s are prescribed to avoid organ rejection and suppress the body’s immune system to prevent it from attacking the transplanted liver.
WHY Rela Hospital?
Dr. Rela Hospital is acknowledged as one of the best hospitals for liver transplantation in India with the state-of-the-art surgical infrastructure. The liver transplant team in Chennai will assist you before, during and after the procedure to ensure comprehensive approach for favorable outcome.