Liver Sclerosis Symptoms

Liver sclerosis is a chronic condition which leads to deterioration of the liver. Identifying the symptoms in the initial stages and administering prompt treatment can act as a life-saver...
The liver is one of the largest and most important organs in the body. This reddish brown colored organ is located on the right side of the diaphragm and is divided into four unequal lobes. The main function of the liver is breakdown of fats, regeneration of cells, converting glucose into glycogen and elimination of waste products. Sometimes due to some infections and alcoholism, the liver gets damaged leading to a life-threatening condition called liver sclerosis, also known as cirrhosis of the liver.

Sclerosis of the Liver

Sclerosis of the liver or liver cirrhosis is a condition where the cells of the liver get damaged and scar tissues begin to form on the liver. This scar tissues interferes with the blood circulation, thus hampering the proper functioning of the liver and leading to liver failure. This condition can result in the liver's failure to produce proteins responsible for clotting of the blood. The liver is also unable to perform its functions like production of bile (a digestion related enzyme), fighting against infections, controlling the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses, digestion and detoxification of the body. These are also some of the early symptoms of liver failure, exhibited by the body.

The main causes of cirrhosis of the liver are too much consumption of alcohol, suffering from diseases like hepatitis B and hepatitis C, etc. Deposition of fat in the liver, resulting in inflammation of the liver tissues, prolonged exposure to toxins, infections and chemicals, and obesity are some other causes of liver sclerosis. Liver cirrhosis can also be caused due to blockage and damage of the bile ducts, or if the individual is suffering from certain inherited diseases like Wilson's disease, cystic fibrosis, protoporphyria or hemochromatosis.

Cirrhosis of the Liver: Symptoms

During the initial stages of this condition, the symptoms of sclerosis of the liver are not so apparent. However, as the disease progresses, the following signs of cirrhosis can be observed in the individual.
  • Abdominal pain caused due to the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen is one of the most common indications of liver sclerosis.
  • Unexplained weight loss due to loss of appetite
  • Appearance of spider-like blood vessels on the skin, which may look bluish black in color.
  • Nausea, accompanied by vomiting.
  • Fatigue and weakness which may lead to inability to do any task.
  • Red sores on the body, which may itch.
Diagnosis and Treatment

Before administering treatment, the doctor may advice to undergo a few tests like a blood test, MRI and CT scan to evaluate the exact condition of the liver. The doctor may also check the previous medical history and advice the patient to undergo a physical exam. A liver biopsy, which is the study of the liver tissue, may also be necessary to diagnose the condition of the disease. Once the diagnosis is over, the doctor may prescribe certain medications. Though the damage caused to the liver due to liver sclerosis is irreversible, medications and drugs (according to the cause and symptoms of this disease) are prescribed to stop the progression and prevent complications. Liver sclerosis prognosis depends on the stages at which the disease is diagnosed. Timely treatment of this life-threatening disease can increase the life expectancy of the patient.

Liver sclerosis problems can become a risk to life and in some cases may even prove fatal. Visit your physician to avoid any complications of any disease of the liver. For the healthy functioning of the liver and preventing it from infections, quit all bad habits like drinking and smoking. Remember a healthy liver means a healthy body sans infections and diseases.
By Marlene Alphonse
Published: 7/22/2010
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