What is it?

Cirrhosis is the end stage of chronic liver disease, when scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. As cirrhosis progresses, more of the healthy liver tissue is damaged and scar tissue forms. A decompensated cirrhosis occurs when the liver cannot function properly anymore. If cirrhosis is diagnosed early enough, further damage can be limited by treatment. There can be many causes for cirrhosis such as chronic alcohol consumption, chronic infection by hepatitis B, C or D, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, hemochromatosis, cystic fibrosis, Wilson’s disease, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, biliary atresia, galactosemia, glycogen storage disease, Alagille syndrome, autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, syphilis, brucellosis and medications such as methotrexate or isoniazid. Cirrhosis may have many complications such as portal hypertension, leg edema, ascites (fluid in the abdomen), enlargement of the spleen, bleeding from esophageal or gastric varices. Also, as one of the liver functions is blood clotting- the bleeding can be life threatening. Infections, hepatic encephalopathy, malnutrition, jaundice, bone disease, liver cancer and acute-on-chronic cirrhosis are more complications seen in patients with chronic liver failure.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- End Stage Liver Failure
- Alcoholic Hepatitis
- alcoholic liver disease
- Alcoholic Cirrhosis of Liver
- Biliary Cirrhosis

Signs & symptoms

Chronic liver disease symptoms include fatigue, easy bruising and bleeding, loss of appetite, leg edema, weight loss, itchy skin, jaundice, ascites, spiderlike blood vessels on the skin, redness in the palm of the hands, absent or loss of mentrual period in women, loss of sex drive, gynecomastia or testicular atrophy for men, and hepatic encephalopathy with present with confusion and drowsiness.

Diagnosis

Cirrhosis diagnosis is based upon findings in medical history, physical examination and further tests. On blood tests, there will be evidence for liver malfunction.Hepatitis serology may be taken as well. MRE is a noninvasive advanced imaging detecting hardening or stiffening of the liver. A biopsy is usually not needed.

Treatment

Treatment for cirrhosis depends on the cause and extent of the liver damage. Some of the treatment strategies may include weight loss, medication to control hepatitis, treatment program to treat alcohol addiction and treatment that deals with complications.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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