Liver Cirrhosis FAQ
Reviewed By : Dr. Anjali D.
Following are some common questions about Liver Cirrhosis:
- How does Cirrhosis affect the human body?
- What tests are suggested for diagnosing Cirrhosis?
- What are the normal lab values of tests required for Cirrhosis?
- What are the test charges of diagnosing liver cirrhosis in India?
- What are the different causes that can lead to Cirrhosis?
- What are the common symptoms of this disease?
- What are the treatments for Cirrhosis?
- What are preventive measures to adopt for avoiding Cirrhosis?
How does Cirrhosis affect the human body?
The liver performs various important functions in the body that include:
Cirrhosis scars the liver resulting in abnormal functioning and leads to chronic injury to the liver. It is a major ailment for death across the globe.
- Extraction of nutrients that the body's digestive system absorbs from blood and processing it later for use
- Making of bile for delivering it to digestive system and thus aiding in absorbing certain vitamins and fat
- Removal of toxic waste and medications from blood and excreting these to the bile
- Perform the role of being an important part for proteins in blood; including those responsible for correct functioning of blood clotting
What tests are suggested for diagnosing Cirrhosis?
The following Liver function tests (LFTs) are usually suggested for cirrhosis:
What are the normal lab values of tests required for Cirrhosis?
The normal levels for tests prescribed for cirrhosis are as follows:
- Prothrombin time (PT): 9.5 – 13.8 seconds
- Bilirubin (Direct/Indirect): 0.1 – 1.2 mg/dl
- Total protein: 6.3 – 7.9 g/dl
- Albumin: 3.5 – 5.0 g/dl
- SGPT or ALT: 45 – 115 U/L
- SGOT or AST: 8 – 48 U/L
What are the test charges of diagnosing liver cirrhosis in India?
Charges of tests for diagnosing Cirrhosis may vary depending on the city you reside into, type of diagnostic center, or the hospital from where you get the tests done. You can find the prices of tests in various Indian cities here.
What are the different causes that can lead to Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis can be caused due to two different reasons; mainly inheritance and those that affect later on in life.
- Hemochromatosis (Iron buildup in body)
- Wilson's disease (Accumulation of copper in liver)
- Biliary atresia (Poor formation of bile ducts)
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Alagille syndrome (Digestive disorder)
- Glycogen or Galactosemia (Sugar metabolism disorder)
Causes that affect later on in life:
Treatment is extremely essential for liver disease and if ignored, this leads to cirrhosis.
- Hepatitis C and B or sometimes D
- Chronic alcoholism
- NASH (Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis)
- Blockage of bile ducts (Pancreatic or bile duct cancer)
What are the common symptoms of this disease?
Your liver may function correctly in spite of being damaged during the early stages of this disease. Symptoms become visible as the disease progresses.
- Weakness and tiredness
- Appetite loss
- Muscle wasting and weight loss
- Vomiting and nausea
- Pain or tenderness in area around liver
- Tiny red colored lines (blood capillaries) appear on skin above waist
- Itchy skin
- Yellow skin and eye whites
- Bleeding tendency and bruising is more easy, like bleeding gums or nose bleeds
- Loss of hair
- Shivering and fever attacks
- Swelling in feet, ankles and legs
- Abdominal swelling
- Alterations in personality
- Sleep issues
- Loss of memory
- Difficulty and confusion in concentrating
What are the treatments for Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis has different treatments according to stages and needs as mentioned below:
Treating cirrhosis complications:
- Treatments for alcohol dependency
- Diet for weight loss
- Medications for controlling the disease along with other causes that lead to cirrhosis
- Fluid buildup: Following a diet regime that is low on sodium content is prescribed. The excess fluid can be removed with help of a needle.
- Bleeding via enlarged veins: Vasoconstrictor medicines and Beta-blocker may be prescribed. Shunts may be used for moving fluid or blood away from belly. Sierotherapy or Endoscopic variceal banding is done to stop the bleeding.
- Portal Hypertension: Medications for controlling blood pressure to prevent bleeding are prescribed. Upper endoscopy is also conducted periodically.
- Liver transplant:
This is the final treatment option as it is used only when the liver completely stops functioning. The diseased liver is replaced with a healthy one obtained from some donor.
What are preventive measures to adopt for avoiding Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis can be prevented if you follow certain things as mentioned below:
- Limit alcohol intake: Recommended levels for alcohol intake is 3 to 4 units per day for men and 2 to 3 units per day for women. If cirrhosis is detected, completely stopping alcohol intake is recommended to speed up recovery.
- Protection from Hepatitis: Using protection while engaging in sex and avoiding sharing of needles can keep hepatitis at bay.
- Eat healthy: A diet full of vegetables and fruits along with foods that provide lean protein are highly recommended. Reduction in fried and fatty food is good.
- Healthy weight: Excess body fat is bad for your liver. Maintaining correct weight with help of a dietitian or doctor can prevent weight gain.