Fatty Liver Disease

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My name is Neville Pettersson and I am the main contributor to this site. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.


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Liver cirrhosis, or cirrhosis of the liver, is one of the most serious and potentially life-threatening liver diseases. The illness progresses through stages in which the liver suffers increasing damage and dysfunction leading eventually to hepatic failure, mortal if not treated. Although it is often associated with alcohol abuse, the disease does have other causes as well, including obesity, diabetes, and hepatitis.

Symptoms


The
symptoms of liver cirrhosis in its earlier stages are similar to those of other, less serious liver conditions; in fact it may be completely asymptomatic until the disease progresses to more significant levels of damage. In the early stages if symptoms do occur, they are likely to include dry mouth, fatigue, and upper-abdominal swelling, and possibly jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes).


A blood test revealing elevated levels of liver enzymes is an indicator of cirrhosis, but may also accompany less serious problems such as fatty liver disease. Medical scanning may reveal abnormal tissue growth and inflammation of the liver. If these symptoms occur, especially when risk factors such as alcohol abuse are known to be present, a biopsy is recommended to determine the nature of the problem.

Alcohol


Although
liver cirrhosis can occur as a result of other underlying problems, it is a classic complication of alcoholism. Continued below....

Excessive alcohol consumption over time puts a strain on and damages the liver and is one of the chief causes of liver problems, including cirrhosis. If cirrhosis is detected in its early stages, and alcohol consumption is determined to be excessive, treatment is sure to include ceasing to drink.


Stages


The disease progresses through four recognized stages. In the first stage, symptoms are as described above (or nonexistent).


In second-stage liver cirrhosis, the swelling or abnormal growth of tissue that occurred in the first stage starts hardening and becoming rigid. This condition is known as "liver fibrosis." Fibrosis is a liver disease in itself and can occur outside the context of cirrhosis, but is also a complication of second-stage cirrhosis. The fibrosis can spread beyond the liver to nearby veins and bile ducts.

In the third stage, the bands of fibrotic tissue link or merge together and cause enlargement or swelling of areas of the organ. This is often associated with serious impairment of hepatic function. The ability of the body to digest fats and to process fat-soluble vitamins is often impaired, leading to vitamin deficiencies and other health problems.


Liver Cirrhosis stage four is the most serious of the cirrhosis of the liver stages and involves severe hepatic impairment and the prognosis is terminal. A liver transplant is mandatory for survival if the disease progresses to this final stage.

Recovery

 
The damage to the liver from cirrhosis is irreversible, so strictly speaking there is no "recovery" possible barring a liver transplant. However, in the earlier stages it is possible to arrest the disease's progression by identifying and correcting the causes of the condition.


This may (and often does) involve cutting out alcohol consumption, and may also (or instead) involve dietary changes, weight loss, or treatment of diabetes, hepatitis, or whatever is causing the damage. If the disease is successfully arrested in an early stage, sufficient hepatic function can be retained to allow a person to live a normal life.

All of the causes of cirrhosis of the liver have other negative impacts on health as well. That is particularly true of alcoholism, but also true of obesity and most other causes. Successful treatment of cirrhosis through lifestyle changes can therefore have great benefit to health in general, as well as stopping the disease from progressing to its severe, life-threatening final stage.

Liver Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis of the Liver Informational Video