Cirrhosis of the liver refers to the scarring of the liver causing poor liver function and development of various liver diseases caused by conditions such as alcohol abuse, fatty liver disease, and hepatitis B or C infection.
In most cases, the liver is able to regenerate new liver cells when they are damaged. However, if the damage has occurred for a longer period of time and becomes severe, the cells would not be able to regenerate themselves completely. This, in turn, leads to the formation of the scar tissues.
Scarring of the liver is a prolonged process. It does not occur in a day or two, but progresses over the years due to the buildup of scar tissue. Scar tissues replace healthy tissues and prevent the regular functioning of the liver. This may eventually lead to liver failure, or liver cancer.
What would go wrong if liver stops functioning?
Understanding the functions of the liver is important in this regard. Liver, similar to the heart and brain, is an important organ of our body. Firstly, it is known as the body’s metabolic factory as it processes, stores, and disseminates nutrients from ingested food to the entire body. Secondly, the blood proteins that aid in clotting blood and strengthening the immune system are also formed by the liver. Thirdly, the liver secretes bile that help in the absorption of fats, fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E, K), and also cholesterol. Above all, the liver also aids in removing waste products such as medications, toxins, cholesterol, and fats.
Hence, any damage to the liver can make a person vulnerable to scores of diseases.
What Are The Treatment Options For Liver Cirrhosis?
Currently, there are no options available for reversal of liver cirrhosis. Liver transplant is the only curative option for liver cirrhosis, and end-stage liver disease.
The other treatment options only slow down the progress of scarring and manage the cirrhosis symptoms. Finding the root cause of the problem (diagnosing the underlying liver disease) can help a patient to stop cirrhosis from getting worse by treating the underlying condition. For patients with hepatitis C infection, anti-viral medication can be prescribed. Patients are also encouraged to make changes to their lifestyle if they are overweight, or consume alcohol heavily.