Essay on Liver Cirrhosis

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Liver cirrhosis refers to the progressive damage of liver cells. Long-term damage to liver cells replaces them with scar tissues which prevent the flow of blood to the liver. Liver cirrhosis is started from acute, medium, to chronic. Acute is a mild form of liver damage which does not result in liver failure. Chronic liver damage is irreversible and results in liver failure.  When the liver is damaged, it cannot perform vital functions like detoxifying substances (Tsochatzis, Jaime and Andrew 1752).

            Damage to the liver is caused by genetic diseases like all agile syndrome and galactosemia. Also, build up of toxic metals like copper in the liver, a condition referred to as Wilson's disease, and the accumulation of iron in the body, a state known as hemochromatosis, causes liver cirrhosis (Tsochatzis, Jaime and Andrew 1752). Moreover, fatty liver disease, hepatitis C, and B, long-term use of alcohol, infections such as schistosomiasis, drugs such as methotrexate, and destruction of bile ducts, are possible causes of liver cirrhosis.

            The main clinical manifestations of liver failure include bruising and bleeding easily, itchy skin, fatigue, loss of appetite, swollen legs, jaundice, nausea, weight loss, ascites, spiderlike blood vessels, breast enlargement in men, slurred speech, confusion, red palms of hands, and testicular atrophy in men. Other symptoms are the loss of hair, sex drive, and memory, vomiting of blood, dark urine, muscle cramps, nosebleeds, pain in the right shoulder, and personality changes (Tsochatzis, Jaime and Andrew 1759).

            Diagnosis of liver cirrhosis involves blood tests such as aspartate transaminase (AST) and alanine transaminase (ALT). Various imaging test did include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and computed tomography (CT) scan. They check for nodules or enlargement in the liver. The liver biopsy involves extraction of a small portion of liver cells and examining them under a microscope. Besides, liver endoscopy is another diagnostic method whereby a catheter tube is inserted into the oesophagus to the stomach (Dyson, Anstee and Pherson 95). It has a light and a video camera which enables a physician to look for swollen blood vessels.

            There are four major complications resulting from liver cirrhosis. First, portal hypertension which can cause bleeding. Splenomegaly, which is the enlargement of the spleen, can also result from portal hypertension. On the same note, a decrease in white blood cells count can indicate signs of liver damage. Portal hypertension can cause a fluid buildup in the legs and the abdomen, symbolizing oedema. Other complications may include immunosuppressant due to a reduced number of platelets in the blood and malnutrition due to loss of appetite. Also, hepatic encephalopathy can result from a buildup of toxins in the blood since the liver no longer detoxifies blood (Tsochatzis, Jaime and Andrew 1756). Other individuals might lose bone strength and become prone to bone fractures, while others may have increased risk of cancer. Overall, chronic liver failure may cause multi-organ dysfunction.

            Cirrhosis of the liver is managed by the change of lifestyle and medical therapy. Change of lifestyle entails avoiding chronic drinking of alcohol. Secondly, a healthy diet free from fatty foods is recommended (Dyson, Anstee and Pherson 98). It also reduces chances of overweight. A diet with low sodium content reduces the risk of ascites. Risks of contracting hepatitis are reduced by avoiding sharing of piercing needles. Medical treatment does not cure cirrhosis but prevents or delay its further damage. An individual should get immunized against the hepatitis virus. Antibiotics and diuretics are used to control oedema and ascites. Liver transplant is the only way that a damaged liver will be replaced by a healthy one. Grazoprevir–elbasvir is a combination therapy for individuals with hepatitis C virus (Zeuzem et al 6).

Work Cited

Dyson, J. K., Q. M. Anstee, and S. McPherson. "Republished: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a practical approach to treatment." Postgraduate medical journal 91.1072 (2015): 92-101.

Tsochatzis, Emmanuel A., Jaime Bosch, and Andrew K. Burroughs. "Liver cirrhosis." The Lancet 383.9930 (2014): 1749-1761.

Zeuzem, Stefan, et al. "Grazoprevir–elbasvir combination therapy for treatment-naive cirrhotic and noncirrhotic patients with chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 1, 4, or 6 infection: a randomized trial." Annals of internal medicine 163.1 (2015): 1-13.

August 09, 2023



Illness Medicine

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