Liver cirrhosis is a condition characterized by late-stage scarring of the liver; about 1 in 400 American adults suffer from it. Cirrhosis can be caused by various other hepatic conditions and diseases, such as chronic alcohol abuse, Cystic Fibrosis, chronic viral hepatitis, and more. In general, damage caused to the liver by cirrhosis cannot be reversed. But if the condition is detected early and its root cause treated, further damage can be curbed and, in rare cases, perhaps even overturned. What are some signs of liver cirrhosis you should look out for?
Cirrhosis, unfortunately, is typically asymptomatic until your liver has experienced extensive damage. Symptoms, once they appear, could include:
- Appetite loss
- Edema, or swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet
- Easily bruising or bleeding
- Itchy skin
- Weight loss
- Ascites, or the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
- Jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
- Redness in the palms of your hands
- Hepatic encephalopathy, or drowsiness, confusion, and slurred speech
- Absent or loss of periods unrelated to menopause in women
- Loss of sex drive, gynecomastia (breast enlargement), or testicular atrophy in men
- Spiderlike blood vessels in the skin
If you experience any of the above, it’s important you see your primary care physician as soon as possible.
If left unchecked, cirrhosis can come with a variety of potential complications. These include but are not limited to spleen enlargement, bleeding, portal hypertension, infections, jaundice, bone disease, and malnutrition.
There are a host of risk factors associated with cirrhosis that could increase your likelihood of developing the disease. Some risk factors associated with cirrhosis are obesity, alcohol overconsumption, and having viral hepatitis. If you are at a higher risk of developing cirrhosis, it’s important you keep an eye on your liver.
Ezra’s abdominal, torso, and full-body MRIs can all potentially identify liver cirrhosis; you can learn more about our scanning options here.