February 4, 2023
February 3, 2023

Liver Cirrhosis Complications

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Liver Cirrhosis Complications

Liver cirrhosis is the extensive fibrosis of the liver that can be caused by a number of different hepatic diseases and conditions; it’s typically asymptomatic until a great deal of damage is done. But what are the complications the condition can bring?

The Mayo Clinic lists a host of potential complications that could come with liver cirrhosis:

  • Portal hypertension (high blood pressure in the veins that supply the liver with blood): this can occur because cirrhosis slows down the regular blood flow through the liver, which in turn increases pressure in the vein that supplies the blood to the liver from the spleen and intestines.
  • Splenomegaly (spleen enlargement): portal hypertension can lead to splenomegaly, as well as the trapping of platelets and white blood cells, the former of which clot the blood and prevent excessive bleeding.
  • Bleeding: portal hypertension may also lead to blood being redirected to minor veins, causing them to burst after being strained by the additional pressure they’re put under. Portal hypertension can also lead to the bursting of enlarged veins in the stomach or esophagus, culminating in bleeding that’s life-threatening. Furthermore, if the liver isn’t making sufficient amounts of clotting factors, it can cause excessive bleeding.
  • Infections: those with liver cirrhosis may also have a hard time fighting off infections.
  • Swelling in the abdomen and legs: heightened pressure in the portal vein can lead to the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen (ascites) or legs (edema). These two phenomena can also be caused by the liver being unable to produce enough of certain types of blood proteins, like albumin.
  • Jaundice: this condition occurs when a diseased liver is unable to remove enough of the waste product known as bilirubin from the blood; symptoms of jaundice include darkened urine, as well as yellowing of the eyes and skin.
  • Bone disease: some individuals with liver cirrhosis are at a greater risk of bone fractures because their bones lose strength.
  • Malnutrition: sometimes, cirrhosis makes it harder for the body to process nutrients, causing weight loss and overall weakness.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (accumulation of toxins in the brain): livers that are damaged by cirrhosis can’t clear toxins from the body as efficiently as healthy livers; as a result, these toxins may accumulate in the brain and lead to difficulty concentrating as well as confusion. Over time, this could culminate in unresponsiveness or even coma.
  • Acute-on-chronic cirrhosis: some individuals with cirrhosis can even experience multiorgan failure. However, researchers now are under the impression that this is a complication in distinct individuals, though they are not sure why.
  • Increased risk of liver cancer: a large number of individuals who develop liver cancer had cirrhosis beforehand.

The Ezra abdominal, torso, and full-body scans may screen your liver for cirrhosis; you can learn more about pricing and more here.