Liver cirrhosis is a disease characterized by the replacement of the normal liver parenchyma with fibrous connective nodes. This pathology has a chronic course and can lead to the death of a sick person without timely medical care.
The liver is an important organ in the human body. It belongs to the glands of external secretion and consists of two lobes. The structural unit of the liver is hepatocytes that form the hepatic lobules. The bulk of this organ is occupied by parenchymal tissue, covered on top by a connective tissue membrane – the stroma. As a result of the fact that parenchymal tissue is replaced by fibrous tissue, typical symptoms of liver cirrhosis arise. The main functions of this organ are that it neutralizes various toxic substances entering the body, takes part in digestive processes, regulates carbohydrate metabolism, and also synthesizes bilirubin, bile acids and cholesterol.
According to statistics, males most often suffer from cirrhosis of the liver. This is due to the fact that it is men who are more likely to experience alcoholism, which is one of the main reasons for the development of this pathological process. It is believed that the prevalence of this disease is approximately twenty people per thousand of the population. Moreover, the overall mortality rate from any liver pathologies is in the region of three hundred thousand people annually.
Most often, liver cirrhosis is formed as a result of the transferred inflammatory process in this organ. Here we mean various viral hepatitis. It is worth noting that viral hepatitis C leads most often to the occurrence of such a pathology . Another common cause is the systematic use of alcohol. In the event that a person has suffered body poisoning with any toxic substances or poisons, the likelihood of developing this disease in him increases several times. Other predisposing factors include excessive consumption of unhealthy foods, metabolic problems, as well as some congenital and physical diseases.
Depending on the provoking factor, cirrhosis of the liver is divided into several types:
- Alcoholic variety – is formed if the pathological process is caused by excessive alcohol consumption;
- Viral variety – occurs when the liver is damaged by viruses;
- Medicinal variety – develops with the systematic use of hepatotoxic drugs;
- Biliary variety – arises from a violation of the circulation of bile;
- Congenital variety – associated with some congenital diseases;
- Exchange-alimentary variety – it is based on various nutritional disorders;
- Stagnant variety – fibrosis occurs as a result of insufficient blood circulation;
- Idiopathic variety – they talk about it if the cause cannot be established.
In addition, the classification of liver cirrhosis includes terms such as large-nodular form and small- nodular form. The large nodular form is established if the fibrous nodes exceed three millimeters in diameter. The small-knot form indicates that there are multiple or single nodes in the liver, which do not exceed three millimeters in size.
Symptoms of liver cirrhosis
This disease goes through several stages in its development. Each of these stages is characterized by its own clinical manifestations.
The first stage is called compensatory. Symptoms of liver cirrhosis during this period are practically not expressed. Some patients may complain of moderate short-term pain in the liver. Moreover, most often such pain is caused by the use of alcoholic beverages or fatty foods.
The second stage of this pathological process is called ” subcompensated “. The patient pays attention to frequent pains in the right hypochondrium, which are accompanied by bouts of nausea. In addition, there are symptoms such as a constant feeling of weakness and fatigue, weight loss, and short-term ascites.
The third stage of liver cirrhosis is characterized by a very intense pain syndrome on the right side of the abdomen. Against this background, yellow coloration of the skin appears, frequent nausea, turning into vomiting, spider veins, as well as rapidly progressive weight loss. Intoxication syndrome in this case is even more intense.
The fourth stage is terminal. The symptomatology becomes so pronounced that only narcotic analgesics can help a sick person. As a rule, this stage is fatal.
To summarize, the main symptoms of liver cirrhosis include:
- Intoxication syndrome;
- Pain in the right hypochondrium;
- Yellow staining of the skin;
- Recurring nausea with vomiting;
- Accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity;
- The appearance of spider veins and nosebleeds.
Diagnosis of the disease
To diagnose this pathological process, both laboratory and instrumental methods are used. First of all, these include a biochemical blood test, which will show data on abnormalities in the liver. In addition, ultrasound and liver biopsy are used.
Treatment of liver cirrhosis and its prevention
An important point in the treatment of liver cirrhosis is adherence to a special diet. Of the drugs, hepatoprotectors are widely used. In addition, medications aimed at treating the underlying disease, for example, antiviral for viral hepatitis, are necessarily prescribed.
To prevent such a pathology, the use of alcoholic beverages should be limited. In addition, you should undergo annual preventive examinations in order not to miss any disease that can lead to the development of cirrhosis.