Cirrhosis late stage liver disease

The liver is one of the essential organs of your body. It is a filter for the poison that enters the body; the chemicals needed by the body, which are derived from nutrients, are done in the liver. Moreover, food becomes energy in the liver. As such, taking care of the liver is of vital importance, and failure or shortcomings in the functioning of the liver can have serious health issues which can even lead to death.

Liver Disease affects lakhs of people, not only in India but worldwide. It is, in fact, one of the leading causes of death. There are many types of liver diseases such as Hemochromatosis, Hyperoxaluria, Wilson’s disease, Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, autoimmune hepatitis and Cirrhosis is one among such liver diseases.

On certain occasions, the liver’s healthy tissue is replaced by scarring tissue, which leads to permanent damage to the liver. This condition is known as Cirrhosis. In a liver infected by Cirrhosis, blood flow via the liver is blocked by the scarred liver tissue, thereby severely hampering the liver’s ability to process medication, nutrients, natural toxins and hormones. Cirrhosis also reduces the liver’s ability to produce substances such as proteins. The late stage of Cirrhosis can lead to death if left untreated.

Are all age groups Vulnerable?

According to experts, Cirrhosis in its severe form is most commonly seen in adults of the age group 45-54. However, Cirrhosis also occurs in adults as young as 25, though the severity is not as much as in the former age group.

Causes Of Cirrhosis:

Factors that can act as causative agents are:

  • Extreme alcohol abuse.
  • Diabetic history.
  • Obesity.
  • History of liver disease.
  • Unprotected sex.
  • History of IV drug abuse.
  • Suffering from Viral Hepatitis.
  • Liver cancer.
  • Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis.
  • Primary Biliary cholangitis.
  • Biliary atresia.
  • Chronic Heart Failure.
  • Rare diseases like amyloidosis

Although in itself, Cirrhosis is not genetic. However, several genetic diseases can cause damage to the liver and can lead to end stage cirrhosis. Some inherited diseases are:

  • Alagille syndrome
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Wilson disease
  • Glycogen storage diseases
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hemochromatosis

Several liver diseases that lead to Cirrhosis are often gradual. This is because the liver tissue will replace all the scarring tissue in the initial stage but will eventually fail to lead to end stage cirrhosis.

 Stages of Cirrhosis.

When the doctor diagnoses you as a patient of Cirrhosis, they will refer to your disease in terms of either Compensated or Decompensated cirrhosis. Moreover, medical experts have derived scoring systems to determine the different stages of liver disease. These scoring systems are known as ‘Child- Turcotte- Pugh Score’ and the MELD score.

The Compensated Cirrhosis:

This indicates Cirrhosis in its early stages and is often accompanied by no noticeable symptoms. The only way to confirm Cirrhosis at this stage is through a biopsy since the lab findings may not show anything out of the ordinary. The average survival rate of patients in these asymptomatic stages is approximately 9-12 years.

The Decompensated Cirrhosis:

This is an indication that Cirrhosis has worsened, and symptoms are vivid. This stage of Cirrhosis is often accompanied by one or more liver complications such as hepatitis, liver cancer, jaundice, variceal bleeding or hepatorenal syndrome. When this stage is reached, it requires immediate hospitalization. The average survival rate is two years approximately.

Cirrhosis Symptoms end stages:

As mentioned above, in Cirrhosis, noticeable symptoms appear only in the later stage. If you witness some or all of these symptoms, you must consult a doctor and seek the necessary help immediately:

The symptoms can occur in stages. In the first stage, the typical signs indicating Cirrhosis are:

  • Lethargy and extreme tiredness.
  • Ankles and legs are swollen
  • As a result of ascites, there is an increase in abdominal girth
  • Blood vessels that resemble spiders appear on your arms, chest or pectoral area and your face.
  • Gynecomastia
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Muscle loss or muscle degradation
  • Meager appetite
  • Nauseated
  • Weakness

In the later stages, Cirrhosis can be fatal. These are the symptoms of end stage cirrhosis:

  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Nails appear white-ish.
  • Delusion, forgetfulness, and inability to reason
  • Amnesia or difficulty in sleeping
  • Clubbed fingers.
  • Light-colored stools
  • Hair loss
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Itchy skin
  • Nosebleeds
  • Personality changes
  • Bleeding gums
  • Muscle cramps
  • Easy Bruising
  • Jaundice
  • Pee that is orange or brown.
  • Blood while passing stool
  • Fever
  • stools that are tar-like
  • Vomiting blood.
  • Severe abdominal pain.
  • Delirious and sleepy.
  • high fever

Treatment of Cirrhosis:

Cirrhosis, in its most proper form, cannot be treated. However, doctors can only treat cirrhosis end stage symptoms. The primary purpose of treating Cirrhosis is not to eliminate the disease but to slow the damage that’s being done to the liver. This is done in the following ways:

  • Treatment for Hepatitis using antiviral medicines.
  • Treatment for Alcohol-induced liver disease by recommending programs related to alcohol abuse
  • Treatment for Autoimmune hepatitis by giving medications for suppressing the immune system.
  • Treatment of heart failure either by medicine or surgery.
  • Treatment of Portal Hypertension by prescribing medication to lower blood pressure.
  • Treatment of Ascites by draining the excess fluid.
  • Treating Hepatic encephalopathy by prescribing lactulose.

These are some of the most common cirrhosis symptoms end stage treatments that doctors recommend to patients suffering from this fatal disease. It is always advised to take care of your liver by reducing alcohol, consuming less fatty food and drinking more water to prevent Cirrhosis.