Liver Enzymes and Other Hepatology News
© 2011 -
Liver Cirrhosis is a medical term used to describe the end stage and condition of chronic liver disease. It indicates scarring and eventual failure of the liver caused by a variety of different diseases or toxins that have slowly diminished the liver's ability to carry out its functions. The liver is responsible for many important body processes, including filtering the blood, providing proteins, glucose and fats for the body's future use and removing potentially harmful chemicals and fats from the body as bile.
Cirrhosis of the liver often manifests itself with very few warning symptoms so that
diagnosis can come too late to make meaningful adjustments to lifestyle, but a good
knowledge of the signs and symptoms can help prevent it from progressing too far
Liver damage leading to cirrhosis is insidious and sometimes does not have any symptoms at all. When it does show signs, they can be varied, and often are so general that it takes a while and a lot of blood work or tests to identify them as being caused by cirrhosis rather than any of a number of other illnesses.
The symptoms of liver cirrhosis go beyond the normal signs of liver damage, and include
confusion, loss of appetite, impotence, bleeding gums and nosebleeds, discolored
stools, extreme weakness, weight loss and spider veins on the face or hands. Once
diagnosed each of these symptoms makes perfect sense -
A physical examination by your doctor will probably reveal tenderness or pain in the spleen, swelling of the legs, feet and hands (also known as edema), jaundice, and red palms.
Your physician should order tests of your blood, as well as diagnostic imaging studies
including MRI, CT Scan, ultrasound and endoscopy. They will probably also want you
to undergo a liver biopsy, in which a small section of liver cells is removed for
analysis in the laboratory. All of these tests are to confirm the diagnosis and set
a course of treatment.
One of the most common conditions leading to cryptogenic cirrhosis is fatty liver disease that has gone untreated. This condition is an inflammation of the liver that is often linked to obesity and lack of exercise.
Fatty liver disease can be reversed if caught early enough, although the actual damage that it does to the liver is permanent. One of the most effective ways to treat and control fatty liver disease is by changing your eating habits, replacing fatty, grease laden foods with healthy ones.
You should increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole
grains. Moderate daily exercise will also help you to return yourself to better physical
health and prevent your condition from causing chronic liver disease and eventual
When liver damage has become extreme it is known as end stage or stage four liver cirrhosis. This is the point where the liver is failing entirely. It sometimes also leads to kidney failure, as well as extreme fluid retention called ascites, which is excessive fluid buildup in the abdomen.
People with end stage liver cirrhosis are at risk of infection and gastrointestinal bleeding. There are numerous support groups available to help people who are dealing with the complications of end stage liver disease and cirrhosis.
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