Liver Cirrhosis is the last stage of Fatty Liver Disease and at this point, the liver cannot regenerate itself. The damage is irreversible.


Q:What is Liver Cirrhosis?


Dr:The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It performs certain vital functions such as secreting proteins for blood clotting, breaking down toxins, acting on medications and producing albumin to maintain fluid balance in the body. When the liver gets inflamed, scar tissue develops. The liver recovers from low-level scarring. However, due to certain infections or lifestyle habits, the liver gets severely damaged and is unable to recover. At this point, the individual is said to have Liver Cirrhosis.


Q:What causes Liver Cirrhosis?


Dr:There are many conditions under which the liver can sustain severe damage, but the two leading causes of Liver Cirrhosis are long-term alcohol abuse and chronic Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infection.


Q:Is it true that the liver can regenerate itself when it sustains damage?


Dr:The ability of the liver to regenerate itself even when it is 90% damaged is quite remarkable. In fact, there are three stages of liver damage before it is declared to be cirrhotic and irreparable. In the first three stages of Fatty Liver disease, even though with age stage scarring gets worse, there is still hope for recovery. Liver Cirrhosis is the last stage of Fatty Liver Disease and at this point, the liver cannot regenerate itself. The damage is irreversible.


Q:What are the symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis?


Dr:In the early stages there may be no symptoms. As the disease progresses the patient could notice any of the following symptoms:


  • Intense itching
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Redness of the palms
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting Blood
  • Brownish-orange urine
  • Blood in the stools
  • Easy bruising
  • Severe Abdominal Pain
  • Sudden appearance of minute spider-like blood vessels just beneath the skin

If you have any of these symptoms, you need to make an immediate appointment at the best liver disease treatment hospital. Only a cirrhosis specialist doctor will be able to provide the best treatment for liver cirrhosis.


Q:Are there different stages or types of Liver Cirrhosis?


Dr:If you have been diagnosed with Liver Cirrhosis, you must understand that you are in the advanced stage of Liver Disease and that there is no scope for the condition to be reversed. However, based on the degree of damage and the presence/absence of symptoms the patient may either have Compensated Cirrhosis or Decompensated Cirrhosis. Patients with compensated cirrhosis are often asymptomatic and do not have any complications such as fluid collection in the abdomen, internal abdominal bleeding, hepatic encephalopathy or bleeding of the oesophagus. If the patient presents with any of these symptoms then he/she is said to have Decompensated Cirrhosis.


Q:How long can a person live with Decompensated Cirrhosis?


Dr:In both cases the liver is severely damaged. However, in the case of Compensated Cirrhosis, the patient can be given certain medication to prevent further complications, giving him/her a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. But for someone with Decompensated Cirrhosis, life expectancy without a liver transplant is just about two years.


Q:How does alcohol cause Liver Cirrhosis?


Dr:Every time the liver breaks down and filters alcohol, many liver cells die. The liver is capable of regrowing cells. However, over time excessive alcohol abuse hampers the regeneration process. The liver does not have time to regenerate damaged cells, because more and more cells are dying. Ultimately there is severe scarring and the liver cannot repair itself. At this point, the person is diagnosed with Liver Cirrhosis.


Q:Does quitting alcohol help with liver disease?


Dr:If the person is in the first three stages of Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, then quitting alcohol, taking prescribed medication diligently and eating a healthy diet can reverse the condition. In time the liver will become as good as new. However, if the person presents with Liver Cirrhosis, then quitting alcohol does not reverse the disease. But quitting alcohol is necessary at this stage to prevent further complications.


Q:Is Liver cirrhosis painful?


Dr:Yes. As the disease progresses the pain worsens, and the patient will be prescribed medication to manage the pain. In most cases the pain is persistent.


Q:What lifestyle changes can help a patient with Cirrhosis Liver?


Dr:If alcohol is the cause of Cirrhosis the person must quit immediately. If Hepatitis C or B is the cause, then getting proper medical attention is necessary. Overweight individuals need to lose weight. Those experiencing pain due to Cirrhosis must stick to the pain medication prescribed by the doctor.


CONSULTANT - GASTROENTEROLOGIST at Dr.Kamakshi Memorial Hospitals
Reviewed By: