Liver cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease characterized by the development of scar tissue in the liver, which can cause the liver to become stiff and lose its ability to function properly. The most common causes of liver cirrhosis include long-term alcohol abuse, chronic viral hepatitis (such as hepatitis B and C), and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
As liver cirrhosis progresses, the liver tissue becomes increasingly scarred, which can lead to a variety of symptoms and complications, including jaundice, fatigue, itching, abdominal pain, swelling in the legs and abdomen, and increased risk of infection.
Advanced liver cirrhosis can also cause complications such as ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen), hepatic encephalopathy (brain dysfunction due to liver failure), and portal hypertension (high blood pressure in the veins that carry blood to the liver). Diagnosis of liver cirrhosis involves a combination of blood tests to assess liver function, imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI, and a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and assess the degree of liver damage.
Treatment for liver cirrhosis focuses on managing symptoms, preventing further liver damage, and addressing any underlying conditions. This may include lifestyle changes such as stopping alcohol consumption and maintaining a healthy diet, medications to manage complications such as ascites and hepatic encephalopathy, and treatment for the underlying cause of the liver damage (such as antiviral medications for hepatitis B and C). In severe cases, liver transplantation may be necessary.