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What is Definition of Cirrhosis of the liver?

Hepatic cirrhosis: definition
Liver cirrhosis are chronic liver diseases that cause the destruction of its cells (or hepatocytes). Cirrhosis are serious diseases since, the term is replaced by liver fibrosis which does not allow it to perform its functions. Several origins of cirrhosis of the liver are found: alcoholic cirrhosis is the most common, hepatitis came second and other rare diseases (primary biliary cirrhosis, hemochromatosis ...).

Risks and consequences of liver cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis are common diseases. Frequency is estimated at 2 000 to 3 300 cases per million inhabitants. The number of deaths is estimated at 15,000 each year from complications of cirrhosis (gastrointestinal bleeding, infections, cancer ...).

The average age of diagnosis is 55 years. The main causes are alcohol (50-75%) and hepatitis (hepatitis C or hepatitis B).

Causes and origins of liver cirrhosis

The most common causes are chronic alcoholism and viral hepatitis. All these factors cause tissue damage leading to liver fibrosis and destruction of the liver architecture.

Chronologically, the first lesions are those of reversible hepatic steatosis and hepatitis and irreversible fibrosis (cirrhosis stage).

Signs and symptoms of liver cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis may be totally asymptomatic, at least at the beginning of evolution. They follow an alcohol consumption for many years or chronic hepatitis.

The increase of the liver can be palpated under the right ribs and is sometimes responsible for abdominal pain. As the blood can no longer flow through the cirrhotic liver, there are other ways to go back to the heart (portal hypertension) veins appear on the abdomen (collateral circulation). Other symptoms reflect the impact of liver malfunction of the body: fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, liver failure ... This is also evident at the palms become "red" (called erythrosis palmar), torso with small angiomas star-shaped and the nails (white nails).

At a later stage, complications can occur as gastrointestinal bleeding (related to varicose veins in the esophagus), diffuse edema (lower limbs, ascites in the abdomen ...).

Cirrhosis of the liver Prevention

With what should we be confused?

It should not be confused cirrhosis and alcoholism. Other causes such as viral hepatitis or autoimmune diseases (primary biliary cirrhosis ...) cause cirrhosis.

Similarly, any large liver (hepatomegaly) is not synonymous with cirrhosis steatosis, reversible, is also evident hepatomegaly.

Are there possible prevention of cirrhosis?

The best primary prevention (ie, before cirrhosis) and alcoholic abstinence remains the prevention of hepatitis C (intravenous drug use) and B (sexual transmission).

Vaccination against hepatitis B is widely recommended immunization schedule.
In cirrhosis proved must prevent bacterial infections (oral care, skin hygiene ...). Any infection should be treated quickly because it can lead to decompensation of cirrhosis.
Vaccinations are recommended, such as those against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza and pneumococcal cons.

Cirrhosis of the liver Preparing consultation

When to consult?

As the disease is diagnosed early and treated, the better the chances of stabilization (and no cure for cirrhosis is irreversible). In the alcoholic or the patient with chronic hepatitis (B or C), it is essential to regularly monitor liver function and even perform tests to verify the absence of cirrhosis.

In case of gastrointestinal bleeding (vomiting blood or black stools very), an emergency hospitalization is required (UAS Centre 15).

What is the doctor?

The doctor will note the presence of hepatomegaly by palpation of the abdomen it will also check for other signs pointing to cirrhosis (angiomas, erythrose, collateral circulation). History moving toward a possible cause of viral hepatitis, alcohol, hemochromatosis or autoimmune disease. Signs of complications are also searched: earthquakes encephalopathy, signs of gastrointestinal bleeding ...

Laboratory tests (blood) can both determine the stage of cirrhosis and its impact (coagulation, platelets ...), but also because (serology hepatitis, alcoholism criteria ...).

However, the diagnosis of cirrhosis is worn only on special additional tests such as liver biopsy (LB). It is a removal of a small piece of liver for analysis. Other tests are possible, especially in cases of chronic hepatitis C (FibroTest and transient elastography ultrasound).

Abdominal ultrasonography and endoscopy (endoscopy) looking for their complications of cirrhosis.
In case of uncomplicated cirrhosis, treatment is primarily that of the cause (alcohol, hepatitis ...) or associated factors (overweight, diabetes ...). Some drugs used to prevent the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding in case of esophageal varices. Latter may require endoscopic ligation.

How to prepare my next visit?

Psychological support in care networks or associations can help patients, especially those in situations of dependency (alcohol, drugs ...).

Any infection in cirrhotic patients requires rapid consultation.

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