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What is Liver Cirrhosis?

Liver cirrhosis is a condition where the liver gets scarred due to long-term liver damage. The liver shrinks and hardens. Therefore, it is not able to function properly and may ultimately cause liver failure. The condition also impacts the blood supply to the liver and creates a condition termed as portal hypertension.

Cirrhosis is a progressive disease and replaces the healthy tissue with fibrous bands. In response to natural defences, the liver nodules get ready to fight the trigger and get scarred and cover the whole peripheral surface of the liver. These scar tissues overtake the blood supply to the liver and may steer towards total liver failure or death.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Initial symptoms of the condition include:

In later stages, the condition is characterized by:

What are its main causes?

Common triggers of the liver cirrhosis include:

  • Viral infection like hepatitis B, or C
  • Chronic alcohol intake
  • Fatty liver disease (non-alcoholic)
  • Obesity
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Chronic hypertension
  • Autoimmune diseases like autoimmune hepatitis
  • Blockage in bile ducts
  • Herbal preparations that harm the liver
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Heart failure
  • Fungal infections of the liver
  • Genetic liver diseases
  • Copper or iron excess in body

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Diagnosis of the condition is done by a doctor by the following methods:

  • Blood tests to identify the functioning of the liver
  • Liver biopsy
  • MRI scan
  • Upper digestive tract endoscopy
  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound

Above tests may help identify the degree of the complications associated with the condition. A scale called as Childs-Pugh test score classifies the condition as:

  • Severe
  • Moderate
  • Mild

Cirrhosis may also be classified as compensated or decompensated to assess the degree of damage. A compensated cirrhosis means that the liver can function despite the condition. A decompensated liver is often classified as a final stage in the liver disease.

Cirrhosis can be improved by stopping the consumption of alcohol or treatment of the underlying virus. Usually, the focus of the treatment of the condition entails to slow down the progression of scar tissue. Treatment of the condition can be associated with:

  • Consumption of a balanced diet
  • Avoiding high sodium intake
  • Treatment of hepatitis virus
  • Suppression of iron and copper levels


In case of severe issues, liver transplant is the last therapeutic option. However, if left untreated, the issue may become complicated leading to :

  1. Medicines for Liver Cirrhosis
  2. Doctors for Liver Cirrhosis
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  1. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Overview - Cirrhosis
  2. American liver Foundation. The Progression of Liver Disease. [Internet]
  3. Detlef Schuppan, Nezam H. Afdhal. Liver Cirrhosis. Lancet. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2009 Mar 8. PMID: 18328931
  4. The Johns Hopkins University. Chronic Liver Disease/Cirrhosis. [Internet]
  5. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Cirrhosis

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