Cirrhosis


CONDITIONS

Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a condition in which hardened and dead scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue due to the presence of an underlying medical condition. Alcoholism is a primary cause of cirrhosis, as is viral hepatitis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (inflammation of the liver that is not tied to heavy alcohol use). Less common causes of cirrhosis include bile duct disease and genetic disorders such as Wilson disease, hemochromatosis, autoimmune hepatitis and glycogen storage diseases. While cirrhosis has few if any symptoms at first, in later stages it may cause fatigue, nausea, itching, gallstones, jaundice, fluid buildup in the abdomen and legs and – in severe cases – hepatic encephalopathy. Left untreated, cirrhosis can eventually cause liver failure and death unless a liver transplant can be procured. When detected in time, the condition can be treated via medications and lifestyle modifications that keep further damage from occurring to the liver.
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