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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Understanding CirrhosisCirrosis

Understanding Cirrhosis

Image
A liver with cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a chronic (long-lasting) liver problem. It results from damaged and scarred liver tissue. Cirrhosis can't be cured, but it can be treated.

The Liver

The liver is a large organ in the upper right part of the abdominal cavity. A healthy liver metabolizes proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Also, it makes a digestive fluid (bile), removes blood toxins, and is involved in the blood-clotting process.

When You Have Cirrhosis

View of lungs and liver

Your liver becomes damaged and scarred when you have cirrhosis. And the liver doesn't function as it should. In some cases, cirrhosis can lead to liver failure. If it does, your doctor will tell you whether you may need a liver transplant.

Causes of Cirrhosis

  • Alcohol use

  • Viral liver infections, such as hepatitis

  • Chronic bile duct blockage

  • Certain inherited diseases that can result in too much copper or iron being stored in the liver

  • Certain medications

  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

  • Autoimmune disease

Common Signs and Symptoms

  • Fatigue, weakness, and lack of appetite

  • Vomiting with or without blood

  • Weight loss or weight gain

  • Yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice)

  • Itching

  • Swollen abdomen and legs

  • Intestinal bleeding

  • Easy bruising of the skin

  • Dilated veins in the esophagus and stomach

  • Poor mental function

Date Last Reviewed: 2004-06-20T00:00:00-06:00

Date Last Modified: 2008-12-04T00:00:00-07:00

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