Cirrhosis is a chronic degenerative disease in which normal liver cells are damaged and are then replaced by scar tissue.
Cirrhosis is a progressive disease, developing slowly over many years. If it is allowed to continue, the build-up of scar tissue can eventually stop liver function (liver failure).
Common causes of cirrhosis are:
Long-term alcohol abuse
Hepatitis B and C infection
Fatty liver disease
Of those, hepatitis B and C together are said to be the leading cause of cirrhosis. We will take a look at each of these causes in detail below.
Symptoms are not common during the early stages of cirrhosis. However, as scar tissue accumulates, the liver's ability to function properly is undermined. The following signs and symptoms may occur:
Blood capillaries become visible on the skin on the upper abdomen.
loss of appetite
loss of bodyweight
pain or tenderness in the area where the liver is located
red or blotchy palms
The following signs and symptoms may appear as liver cirrhosis progresses:
Abdomen fills up with fluid, giving the patient a large tummy (ascites).
altered personality (as blood toxins build up and affect the brain)
body and upper arms lose mass
body finds it harder to process alcohol
body finds it harder to process drugs
fluid build-up on ankles, feet, and legs (edema)
higher susceptibility to bruising
jaundice (yellowing of the skin, whites of the eyes, and tongue)
loss of libido (sex drive)
more frequent fevers (susceptibility to infections)
pain on the right shoulder
Stools become black and tarry, or very pale.
Urine becomes darker.
Walking problems (staggering).