Liver cirrhosis or fibrosis (lat. cirrhosis hepatis), is a disease where damaged cells of the body. In the course of the disease the healthy tissue of the body is replaced with the wrong structure in the form of so-called nodules of regeneration. The decrease in the number of healthy cells leads to various disorders in the liver.
The cause of the disease are alcohol abuse and hepatitis viruses b, D and C.
What is cirrhosis of the liver?
Cirrhosis is a disease in which there is a destruction of normal liver cells, which leads to many failures in the body.
Cirrhosis of the liver (code according to ICD-10: К74.4-К74.6) – health problem, often chronic and develops as a result of many disorders of the liver. During the development of this disease occur degenerative changes and necrosis of the cells of the body. In the course of the disease the connective tissue creates fibrosis, replaces healthy liver tissue. These scars can partially block the flow of blood through the body, thereby to contribute to the further degeneration of the body.
As a result, the liver ceases to perform its physiological function: to remove toxins, process nutrients hormones and drugs and she is unable to produce proteins that regulate blood clotting.
The causes of the disease
The liver is one of the most important organs of our body. Despite the fact that its structure is homogeneous – it consists mainly of liver cells (hepatocytes), she performs many functions in the body. Involved in the digestion of fats by producing bile, an important component of the immune system, takes part in the excretion of many toxins, products of metabolism and drugs. Given the multiple functions of this body, he is under great influence of the toxic factors and therefore vulnerable to permanent damage. The liver has an amazing ability to regenerate. Despite this, chronic exposure to toxic factors causes inflammation of this organ and can lead to irreparable damage.
In order to begin the process of liver fibrosis, as a rule, should be a factor that will negatively act on the liver for a long time. Often a factor is alcohol. Regular consumption of alcohol, even in small amounts, can increase the incidence of cirrhosis.
What is cirrhosis of the liver? The reason that causes the disease, is a chronic inflammation of the liver viruses hepatitis B and C. If you get infected by these viruses, it may lead to the development of chronic liver inflammation that lasts for many years without causing overt symptoms. Cirrhosis of the liver in children is a consequence of hepatitis or intoxication with chemical substances. The hepatitis b virus is transmitted usually through contact with a sick person blood or through sexual contact. In most cases, people do not know that is contagious, so it is dangerous for other people because the disease from him.
A negative impact on the course of the disease is diabetes mellitus, HIV infection and old age. There are related risk factors that can be controlled. Infected persons should not drink alcoholic beverages, smoke cigarettes or have too much body weight.
In developed countries, which managed to reduce the incidence of hepatitis b, came to the conclusion that to a greater extent, the emergence of cirrhosis of the liver contributes to obesity.
The following common causes: metabolic disorders, sarcoidosis, medications, autoimmune hepatitis, syphilis, diseases of the biliary tract, and disease, leading to chronic circulatory failure in the liver, such as congestive heart failure and varicose veins.
Symptoms and treatment
Cirrhosis can give a number of signs and symptoms associated with dysfunction of this organ. They appear at a fairly advanced stages of the disease. Cirrhosis develops without special symptoms. The appearance of an external, obvious signs of metabolic disorders of the liver means the disease has entered a difficult, potentially life-threatening stage.
Treatment of cirrhosis is to limit the factors that damage the body, to ensure his recovery or at least slow further damage. In the beginning of the disease cirrhosis poses significant obstacles in the life of the patient. Body usually functions normally and works. Over time, however, a sharp deterioration of health that prevents lead a normal life. In this form of the disease, the patient needs supportive care, as well as the possibility of performing liver transplantation is the only treatment for cirrhosis and a chance to return to normal life.
The initial symptoms of cirrhosis are not typical for the disease. Appears fatigue and weakness of the body.
Can occur and the following symptoms:
- reduction of body weight;
- loss of appetite;
- intolerance to certain foods;
- constipation, alternating with diarrhea;
- heaviness, drowsiness;
- disorders of libido;
- bleeding from the mucous membranes;
- painful muscle cramps often occur at night;
- itchy skin and low-grade fever of unknown origin.
In the initial period of development of the disease the diagnosis of “cirrhosis” based on external symptoms is difficult. In the diagnosis of disease takes into account all symptoms that a patient complains, laboratory tests, functional tests, but only biopsy and microscopic examination of a sample of tissue of the organ are the most objective assessment of the condition of the liver.
In the course of cirrhosis, the liver cells lose the ability to capture endogenous hormones in the blood, thus disturbed hormonal balance. In men, by increasing the concentration of estrogen in the blood, a decrease in libido, impotence, and the emergence of female sexual characteristics: the disappearance of hair on his chest, testicular atrophy, increased breast – gynecomastia. This condition can reach up to infertility. Women, on the contrary, appear masculine sexual characteristics, in particular, excess facial hair, called hirsutism.
There is a noticeable change in the structure and size of the liver. In some patients it becomes enlarged, others reduced and hidden under the arch of the leg of the arch. Are the most characteristic skin symptoms. Jaundice, which is evidence of the continued disturbed capacity of the liver cells excrete bilirubin in the bile and characterized by a moderate increase in symptoms. Clinic chronic jaundice has a poor prognosis for the patient. Sometimes jaundice is associated with the activation of a specific factor that may lead to the formation of cirrhosis, for example, alcohol poisoning.
The reason for frequent deaths due to the development of disease – cirrhosis is liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). This is one of the most common malignant tumors worldwide. Liver cancer develops in people who have cirrhosis on the basis of a chronic infection of hepatitis C virus and to a lesser extent type B. liver Cancer can only be cured with transplant. If it comes to the appearance of metastases, the prognosis unfavorable and treatment is taking palliative. Liver cancer is difficult to treat with chemotherapy.
Prevention of the disease
Cirrhosis is a disease developing over many years, and the possibility of its occurrence can be reduced to almost zero, following a few rules.
How can I prevent disease? With cirrhosis of the liver not to be trifled with. To prevent disease, it is necessary first of all to avoid drinking alcohol, infections, hepatitis viruses and other factors that contribute to liver damage. Sometimes we recommend the use of supplements containing extracts of the herb artichoke or milk Thistle. They protect healthy liver cells, affect a more rapid regeneration of damaged cells of this body.