Overview of Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a liver condition in which the tissues of the liver are scarred and damaged. This condition occurs due to any disease or infection that affect the liver, for instance hepatitis (hepatitis B and C), fat accumulation in liver (fatty liver), or chronic alcohol consumption. Other causes of cirrhosis include cystic fibrosis, bile duct disorder, autoimmune disorder, increase in iron concentration in the body and genetic disorder of sugar metabolism. It is a progressive disease and can lead to decompensated cirrhosis which result in many critical and life threatening conditions, as liver fails to carry out its normal functions (cleaning of blood, detoxification of harmful compounds and synthesis of vital nutrients).
Causes and Risk Factors of Cirrhosis
The primary cause of liver cirrhosis is viral infection. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C viral infection lead to severe liver damage. Fatty liver disease also increases the risk of liver cirrhosis. Increased consumption of alcohol, autoimmune hepatitis and accumulation of copper in liver are considered as risk factors of cirrhosis. Primary cirrhosis is the type of cirrhosis in which the main target of damage is bile duct. Bile is the fluid secretion of the liver and plays important role in the digestion of food. Bile duct transfers the bile to the gastrointestinal tract. Bile also function to eliminate toxins, dead cells and cholesterols from the body. Cirrhosis of bile duct lead to the failure in supply of bile and causes liver cirrhosis and scarring as bile and toxic substances get accumulated in the liver. Primary cirrhosis is an autoimmune disorder and is triggered by combination of environmental and genetic factors.
Signs and Symptoms of Cirrhosis
Early cirrhosis does not have any symptoms. Symptoms appear when liver damage become extensive, and include drowsiness, itchiness in skin, loss of appetite, loss of weight, jaundice, fatigue, swelling in legs, dryness of eyes and mouth, pain in upper right corner of abdomen and redness of hands.