Cirrhosis of the Liver – Warning Signs, Symptoms & Causes

Cirrhosis of the Liver

Welcome to this blog post “Cirrhosis of the Liver – Warning Signs, Symptoms & Causes.” With summer on our doorstep, you’re probably planning to cut loose with your friends. But if you party hard, there are several things you need to take into account.  

One is your liver. Your liver breaks down foods that you eat, converting extra carbs and proteins into forms that can be used when you need them. If you treat your liver poorly, it can’t do its job. Here’s what you need to know about Cirrhosis of the Liver.

What exactly causes it? Do I have to stop drinking altogether? What symptoms should I watch out for?  We’re talking all that AND more…

What Exactly Is Cirrhosis of the Liver?

We need to first get an understanding of what this disease is. To put it simply, cirrhosis is the scarring of your liver. This damage will stop it from functioning properly. It’s normally caused by toxins your liver’s exposed to, including alcohol and infectious particles.

An estimated 1 in 400 American adults suffers from cirrhosis. It’s most common among adults between the ages of 45 to 54. Among that demographic, the figures are about 1 in 200. Some experts state that the numbers may be even greater since cirrhosis often goes undiagnosed.

Now, the liver is a really tough organ. When it’s being attacked, it has the ability to regenerate cells fairly easily. In order to develop cirrhosis, these attacks have to be fairly frequent.  So if you’re partying it up every night, you’re more likely to suffer from cirrhosis compared to people who take it easy.

What’s the longest you’ve partied without stopping? Did it take a physical toll on your body? How long did it take for you to recover?  Sound off in the comment section, and start a conversation with our Bestie community.

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How Does Cirrhosis Develop?

Like I said, your organ needs to be getting attacked frequently for the disease to set in. When your liver is being abused, it begins to shrivel up and shrink. This makes it so much harder for the organ to perform. Your blood won’t be able to properly carry the nutrients into the liver from the portal vein. As a result, your portal vein will increase in blood pressure.

This results in a condition called portal hypertension. As your blood pressure increases, your veins get backed up, causing them to burst and bleed. Studies show that portal hypertension is common among 25% of people with non-alcoholic liver disease.

What Causes Cirrhosis of the Liver?

When it comes to taking care of your liver, there are a few things you should watch out for. But with cirrhosis in particular, you need to consider the following.

1 – Alcohol

Alcohol

We’ve danced around this one for the last couple of minutes. But yes, drinking a lot of booze will almost surely result in cirrhosis of the liver. When you think about cirrhosis, you normally picture a person with a drinking problem. And you’d be right to think this way. The more you drink, the greater your chances are of getting the disease.

Of course, this usually takes years to develop, 10 – 12 on average. But the heavier a person’s consumption, the faster cirrhosis happens. This is different for men and women. Experts say that more than 3 drinks a day can put you on course for cirrhosis of the liver.  As for women, it’s about 2 drinks a day.

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2 – Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that damages the liver. You can get it through either sexual intercourse or exposure to infected blood. Exposure to infected blood is something that can happen after getting injected with a dirty needle. Just the act of getting a tattoo or piercing can put you at risk. With that said, you’re more likely to get it through drug use.

Between 130 to 150 million people around the world have hepatitis C. Studies show that close to half a million infected people die from this each year.

3 – Obesity

Obesity - Cirrhosis of the Liver

Now this one isn’t as common a cause for cirrhosis, but it still needs to be mentioned. Obesity is a crisis around the world. As of 2016, around 650 million adults worldwide were obese.  Almost 2 billion are overweight altogether.

Obesity can directly affect your organs, specifically your liver. If it’s not cirrhosis, it normally leads to some other liver disease. This is due to your diet not providing the proper nutrients. It results in your liver having very little to work with.

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What Are The Symptoms?

Cirrhosis doesn’t just cause your liver to hurt. There are plenty of other symptoms you can experience. Some are a lot more noticeable than others. These include the following.

1 – Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds - Cirrhosis of the Liver

Now, this is certainly not one of the things you would normally associate with liver disease. Believe it or not, nosebleeds are pretty common with cirrhosis. This is because your liver is no longer strong enough to help with blood clotting.

2 – Jaundice

Jaundice - Cirrhosis of the Liver

This is a fancy medical term for ‘yellowing skin’. That’s right when your liver is severely damaged, you’re probably going to notice strange bruise-like marks around your body. This is because your liver isn’t removing your bilirubin. This is a yellowish pigment that occurs when your red blood cells are breaking down.

3 – Loss of Appetite

Loss of Appetite - Cirrhosis of the Liver

Cirrhosis can lead to loss of appetite. You see, a person with a bad liver is going to be feeling a ton of discomfort throughout their body, particularly in the abdomen. Eating large meals will disturb this part of your body. As a result, you’re going to be pickier with your meals.

4 – Weight Loss

Weight Loss

A person suffering from cirrhosis of the liver is going to lose weight quicker than healthier people. Your body is unable to process food the same way. Not to mention, you’re probably not eating as much as you usually do.

Studies have shown that people with the non-alcoholic liver disease see some type of weight loss due to malnutrition. A large percentage of the time, this liver disease will progress to cirrhosis. This sometimes happens over a period of as many as 15 years.

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5 – Weakness & Fatigue

Weakness & Fatigue - Cirrhosis of the Liver

Once again, this is due to your body’s inability to process the right nutrients. If you’re not getting enough nutrients, you won’t have enough energy. This leaves you feeling tired throughout the day. Your muscles will also start to weaken. This happens in almost 40% of people with cirrhosis of the liver.

6 – Itchiness

Itchiness - Cirrhosis of the Liver

Have you been scratching away for no apparent reason? Has this habit lasted for a long time? Well, you might want to get your liver checked out. When a person suffers from cirrhosis, higher levels of bile salt will collect underneath your skin. This will cause severe itching.

7 – Spider-Shaped Veins

Spider-Shaped Veins - Cirrhosis of the Liver

Has it ever looked like your veins were about to burst out of your skin? Were they really blue and weird-looking? Well, that would be another reason to talk to a doctor. Spider-shaped veins are especially common in people suffering from alcohol-related cirrhosis.

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Before we continue, are you going on a low-carb diet? Check out our recent article on Which Diets Actually Work – Scientifically Proven Dieting Tips.

What Does Cirrhosis of the Liver Lead To?

As the disease progresses, your body won’t be able to function. I’m not just talking about your liver. I’m talking about many different complications throughout your body. The most common complications from cirrhosis include kidney failure and liver cancer.  

Since the flow of your bile is being disrupted, it will eventually harden and turn into gallstones. There is also type-2 diabetes to worry about. On top of that, you also have something known as esophageal varices.

This is when the blood isn’t flowing properly through your liver and backs up all the way into the veins of the esophagus. Your veins will eventually start to bulge due to the backed-up blood flow.

What Can You Do To Treat It?

There are many ways to treat cirrhosis of the liver. Doctors will usually prescribe you things like beta-blockers and antibiotics. If it’s absolutely necessary, they may do a liver transplant. As you can imagine, they do this as a last resort.

If you want to prevent cirrhosis from happening, you’re going to want to cut back on the booze. This is especially necessary if you feel like your drinking habits are hurting your health.  

A drink every now and then is fine, but drinking every day will put your liver at risk. Make sure your diet is right as well. To avoid hepatitis, you’ll want to wear a protective barrier during intercourse, as well as get vaccinated. Believe me, your liver will thank you in the future.

Your liver is so important, and there are many different ways to keep it healthy. Have I sparked your interest? Let’s keep the conversation going with a couple more liver-related videos, shall we?

Check out How To Keep Your Liver Healthy – 14 Foods You Should Eat. Or Naturally, Cleanse The Liver – With 9 Best Foods Ever. Go ahead, click one. Or better yet, read both, and learn more about how to keep your liver in tip-top shape. Have you been suffering from liver cirrhosis? Let us know in the comments!

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