Liver is an important organ of the body. It performs several important functions in maintaining good health. These include production of proteins, detoxification of body, and storage of vitamin A. In addition to this, liver regulates supply of glucose and lipids to be used by the body. For the proper functioning, the liver cells and blood must work closely with each other. But in cirrhosis, the relationship between liver cells and blood is lost and it is unable to add or remove substances from the blood. In cirrhosis, the healthy liver cells are replaced by scar tissue and obstructive the normal flow of blood in the liver. As a result, blood starts accumulating in the portal veins producing the condition called portal hypertension where blood travels in other veins which bypass the liver to organs that perform the function. The relationship between liver and canaliculi carrying bile also gets disturbed and liver is unable to perform the function of removing toxic substances from the body. It is this mechanism which leads to the symptoms of cirrhosis of liver.
There can be many causes of cirrhosis of liver.
• The most common cause can be chronic intake of alcohol in large quantities. It causes the death of healthy liver cells and they result in scarring around your veins of liver.
• Hepatitis that is the inflammation of liver due to viral infection can also cause serious damage to your liver cells and cause cirrhosis. Hepatitis B, hepatitis C and hepatitis D are all culprits.
• Many genetic diseases can be involved in your liver cirrhosis. Diseases such as glycogen storage disease, hemochromatism, Wilsons disease, galactosemia and cystic fibrosis causes abnormal accumulation of toxic substances resulting in damage to liver cells.
• A condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver also causes cirrhosis of liver. It occurs due to certain diseases like CAD, obesity, type II diabetes and protein malnutrition disease.
• Other conditions which are known to cause liver cirrhosis are biliary cirrhosis, autoimmune cirrhosis, cardiac cirrhosis, long term bacterial or parasitic infection and many drugs.
At the initial stage of your cirrhosis of liver, you might not get any signs and symptoms. But with your progress of disease, you can experience weakness or tiredness, appetite loss, weight loss, paleness of skin with nausea, loss of libido. Sometimes you start getting symptoms when the complications of cirrhosis start taking toll. You can get itching due to deposition of breakdown of bile products. Due to liver enlargement, abdominal pain can become a normal routine. Sometimes, fluid retention leads to weight gain and swelling in abdomen, ankles and legs with breathing problems. Due to cirrhosis of liver, the toxins are not eliminated from body and affect your brain resulting in symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, confusion of mind, sleepiness and sometimes even comatose. As the stage progresses, you start getting bruises with slight injury or touch and gum bleeding. Liver congestion can also result in blood in your feces and vomiting. In the further stage, around 7 percent of patients get liver cancer.
By reading about cirrhosis of liver, if you are suspecting of having the same symptoms, then do not waste more time and at least take some steps to delay the complications.