Cirrhosis of Liver: What is It, Symptoms & Causes

Liver Cirrhosis is a situation where scar tissue gradually replaces healthy liver cells. It is a situation where any substance or disease attacks the liver and damages it which results in the killing of liver cells and the formation of scar tissue. When a substance or disease attacks and damages the liver, liver cells are killed and scar tissue is formed. This scarring process is known as fibrosis. Whereas cirrhosis is a situation when the whole liver is scarred, it shrinks and gets hard. 

Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis 

People with cirrhosis may have few symptoms and signs of liver disease. Some of the common symptoms and signs of cirrhosis are: 

1. Visibility of blood capillaries on the skin on the upper abdomen.
2. fatigue
3. insomnia
4. itchy skin
5. loss of appetite
6. loss of bodyweight
7. nausea
8. pain or tenderness in the area where the liver is located
9. red or blotchy palms
10. weakness

The signs and symptoms mentioned below may appear as liver cirrhosis progresses : 

1. accelerated heartbeat
2. personality changes
3. bleeding gums
4. lost mass in the body and upper arms
5. difficulties in processing drugs and alcohol
6. confusion
7. dizziness
8. fluid buildup on ankles, feet, and legs, known as edema
9. hair loss
10. higher susceptibility to bruising)
11. jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, whites of the eyes, and tongue
12. loss of sex drive
13. memory problems
14. more frequent fevers and increased risk of infection
15. muscle cramps
16. nosebleeds
17. pain in the right shoulder
18. breathlessness
19. stools become black and tarry, or very pale.
20. urine becomes darker.
21. problems with walking and mobility

Causes of Liver Cirrhosis

The function of the liver’s cells is to stimulate wound healing, during which excess proteins such as collagen and glycoproteins build up in the liver. Eventually, after many instances of repair, the liver cells known as hepatocytes can no longer repair themselves. The liver is not able to eliminate toxic substances normally, which adds up to accumulate in the body. To a minor extent, digestion in the intestine also is reduced. A disturbed relationship between the liver cells and the channels through which bile flows also causes Liver Cirrhosis. Several types of liver diseases exist that can cause fibrosis. These include:

1. Autoimmune hepatitis
2. Biliary obstruction
3. Iron overload
4. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which includes nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
5. Viral hepatitis B and C
6. Alcoholic liver disease

Stages of Liver Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis in itself is already a late stage of liver damage. In the early stages of liver disease there will be inflammation of the liver. In this initial stage, it is still possible for the liver to heal with treatment. If fibrosis of the liver is not treated, it can result in cirrhosis. At this stage, the scar tissue cannot heal, but the progression of the scarring may be prevented or slowed. 

Stage 1: At this stage, cirrhosis involves some scarring of the liver. This stage is considered compensated cirrhosis, where there are no complications.

Stage 2: The second stage of the Liver Cirrhosis worsening portal hypertension and the development of varices.

Stage 3: Cirrhosis involves the development of swelling in the abdomen and advanced liver scarring. This stage has complications and possible liver failure.

Stage 4: At this stage, cirrhosis is life-threatening and people have developed the end-stage liver disease (ESLD) at this stage which is disastrous without a transplant.


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