The liver serves the vital function of filtering toxins from the body. Liver damage, also known as cirrhosis, can disrupt this essential function, causing health issues. Liver damage is easily preventable. Most cirrhosis patients can manage their symptoms and slow their impact. Here are some signs to watch out for if you or a loved one is at risk for cirrhosis.
What is Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis occurs as a result of chronic liver damage. Heavy alcohol use or hepatitis are some of the more frequent causes of cirrhosis. After years of damage to the liver, the liver may scar or fail to function correctly. Cirrhosis typically occurs in 4 stages:
Stage I: Steatosis
The first stage of cirrhosis is when the bile duct or liver becomes inflamed. Inflammation and symptoms associated with steatosis are usually curable.
Stage II: Scarring (fibrosis) due to inflammation
During stage II, the scarring or inflammation of the liver begins to obstruct blood flow. This disrupts liver function, as well. Treatment is necessary during stage II to keep cirrhosis from escalating.
Stage III: Cirrhosis
Due to a lack of treatment, persistent infection, or chronic liver disease, cirrhosis will develop in the liver. Scar tissue begins to replace healthy tissue, making it difficult for the liver to perform its functions, and scarring becomes permanent.
Stage IV: Liver failure, advanced liver disease, or hepatic failure
The final stage of cirrhosis is a complete failure of the liver. The liver stops functioning altogether, and immediate medical intervention will be required to avoid fatality.
Most people do not catch liver disease until stage II, as early symptoms typically go unreported. This is why it’s critical to maintain awareness of early signs and symptoms.
During stage I, also known as steatosis, the body aims to fight against potential infection or inflammation. Because these symptoms are not always associated with liver disease, many do not seek treatment. Discovering liver disease during stage I of cirrhosis could prove life-saving to you or a loved one. Here are some early warning signs to look out for:
- Jaundice, yellowing of the eyes or skin
- Abdominal pain or inflammation
- Itchy skin
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in legs or feet
- Easily bruised
- Spider veins
- Red palms of hands
- An unusual amount of fluid in the abdomen
An intense abdomen inflammation is typically the first sign to watch out for. Symptoms are curable and can prevent cirrhosis from escalating during stage I. If these symptoms are present, seek medical attention immediately, which could save your life.
Treatment for Liver Cirrhosis
Treatment plans may vary depending on the cause and underlying condition of cirrhosis. Although there is no natural cure for advanced stages of cirrhosis, symptoms can be managed. The primary goal of treatment is to slow liver damage for as long as possible.
Doctors may prescribe a round of antivirals or medications to manage liver disease. In more severe cases of cirrhosis, a liver transplant may be necessary. If a liver transplant occurs, your doctor will work with you to manage post-op care and recovery. Speak with your doctor about familial history, health concerns, alcohol usage, or current medication intake. Every case of liver disease is different, and liver cirrhosis requires extensive care.
Visit the Team at BASS Medical for Cirrhosis Treatment
The team at BASS Medical specializes in a wide range of illnesses and health concerns. We understand the severe implications of liver disease or cirrhosis. Please contact us with questions or schedule an appointment. Give our team a call at (925) 350-4044.