Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease, marked with the impairment of liver tissue, loss of function of the liver, scarring on the liver, accumulation of water in the abdomen and bleeding. Cirrhosis is a term introduced by Laennec, Paris clinician, and it is originated from the Greek word cirros, meaning yellow, because the liver of diseased person is yellow.
Cirrhosis occurs as a result of other diseases of the liver, which damage liver over time, and in most cases it is hepatitis. The most common cause of cirrhosis along with a genetic predisposition and hepatitis is alcoholism. There is also Cryptogenic cirrhosis in which nor alcohol nor jaundice are present.
Patients general condition is changing. Patient suffers from greater loss of body weight, feels tired and their body temperature is increasing. They have a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, and are fat intolerant. The skin of patient becomes yellow, because the liver can not remove bilirubine.
On the skin, chest and arms red dotted spots are appearing, with a thin blood vessels that are formed in shape of spider webs (spider nevus). The palms are experiencing redness (palmar erythema).
In men sometimes comes to testicular atrophy, gynecomastia (painful breast augmentation), and reduced hairiness. In severe forms severe abdominal pain may occur. That is a sign that there is an infection, depression and loss of concentration, and fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites).
The abdomen of the patient begins to swell noticeably, and the amount of excreted urine is reduced. While excreted urine has a characteristic dark color. The abdomen becomes very tense and is expanding to a maximum yield point of the skin. Therefore the patient has great difficulty with breathing.
People who suffer from liver cirrhosis are very thin, and their leanness is particularly evident on the legs, mainly because there is ascites in abdomen region, and it seems that the patient has a big belly and skinny legs. The skin changes to characteristic color, which ranges from gray to brown, and if jaundice is present, then there can appear yellowish color in the patient eyes.
The nose and cheeks are getting a characteristic red color, and on the head tiny red dots are appearing. Sometimes these spots are noticeable on the palms and soles. Patient often loses his body hair, especially in the armpit area.
Persons liver feels hard on touch, it has irregular surfaces and sharp clear edges, while the spleen is greatly enlarged. There is a significant increase in gamma globulin. Increased levels of bilirubin are a sign of jaundice, and it is necessary to measure the specific enzyme in order we could establish the diagnosis.
Cirrhosis is a very serious disease and should be primarily prevented. The first and basic preventive measures are we need to minimize or entirely remove drinking of alcohol. In case of hepatitis patient should follow the detailed instructions from their doctor in order to heal his liver and avoid the complications of the disease, which often leads to cirrhosis of the liver.
Patient must also comply with his diet regime and avoid a greater amount of salt in food. Furthermore he should avoid any efforts, cold weather conditions and contact with persons suffering from infectious diseases. For patients who also have ascites, it is necessary to include adiuretic therapy.
It should be emphasized that the liver cirrhosis is an incurable disease, which with proper treatment can be kept under control and therefore prevent progression of the disease. The only way of healing the patient completely is liver transplantation.