Cirrhosis is a condition that is caused by late stage scarring of the liver. It can manifest from a number of other conditions, including but not limited to cystic fibrosis, chronic alcohol abuse, and chronic viral hepatitis. About 1 in 400 American adults suffer from cirrhosis. However, if cirrhosis is detected early enough and its root cause is taken care of, further damage could be prevented and, in rare cases, perhaps even reversed.
Though it’s generally asymptomatic, cirrhosis has a variety of potential symptoms, many of which can be chalked up to being due to other conditions. These could include:
- Edema (swelling) in your feet, ankles, or legs
- Itchy skin
- Easily bleeding or bruising
- Appetite loss
- Weight loss
- Ascites (the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen)
- Redness in the palms of your hands
- Jaundice (yellowing of your skin and eyes)
- Hepatic encephalopathy (drowsiness, slurred speech, and confusion)
- Absent menstrual cycles
- Loss of menstrual cycles (unrelated to menopause)
- Spider-like blood vessels visible in your skin
- Loss of sex drive
- Gynecomastia (breast enlargement), or testicular atrophy in men
What are some risk factors that could increase your likelihood of developing cirrhosis?
The Mayo Clinic says that there are three major risk factors that could contribute to the development of cirrhosis:
- Having viral hepatitis. While not everyone who has chronic viral hepatitis will also develop cirrhosis, it is one of the world’s major causes of liver disease.
- Overconsumption of alcohol. Drinking too much increases the likelihood you’ll develop cirrhosis because alcohol damages the liver.
- Being obese. Being obese heightens your chances of developing conditions such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which may in turn lead to cirrhosis.
The Ezra abdominal, torso, and full-body scans may be able to catch liver cirrhosis. You can learn more about our screening options here.