Liver Cirrhosis in St. Louis, MO
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What is liver cirrhosis?
Your liver is an organ that conducts an array of vital duties necessary for your health, like breaking down fat and filtering harmful toxins from the blood. Liver cirrhosis, also called hepatic cirrhosis, describes the disease where the liver is inflamed and scarred from issues like chronic alcohol abuse and late-stage liver disease. As more and more scar tissue develops, the ability of the liver to function properly continually diminishes. The various levels of severity involving liver cirrhosis are classified into four separate stages.
Stage 1: Some scarring of the liver but there are not many symptoms and no complications have developed.
Stage 2: More symptoms start to develop, such as enlarged and swollen veins and hypertension within the portal vein around the liver (portal hypertension).
Stage 3: Symptoms involve advanced scarring of liver tissue and abdominal swelling, along with significant complications and possibly liver failure.
Stage 4: At this stage, liver cirrhosis can be deadly in the absence of a liver transplant.
At Specialists in Gastroenterology, our GI team can detect, address, and help patients manage liver conditions. To find care for liver cirrhosis in St. Louis, MO, request a consultation at one of our locations near you today.
What are the causes of liver cirrhosis?
There are several factors that can cause liver damage, which may result in cirrhosis. These factors can include the following:
- Chronic alcoholism
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Viral liver infections (hepatitis B & C)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Liver disease caused by autoimmune hepatitis
- Bile duct damage
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Sugar metabolism disorders
- Inherited GI conditions
- Iron buildup in the body
- Certain medications
- Poorly formed bile ducts
- Wilson’s disease
In the event you start to experience issues with your liver and need specialized care, partner with the gastroenterologists at your nearest Specialists in Gastroenterology location. Our knowledge and expertise can lead you toward the appropriate direction for individualized treatment.
What are common signs of liver cirrhosis?
The beginning stages of liver cirrhosis may not present with any symptoms but the initial signs that you may have include exhaustion, physical weakness, and lack of appetite. When the condition continues to progress, the signs and symptoms could include:
- Swelling in the legs
- Unexpected weight loss or gain
- Redness of the palms
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Veins that are spider web-like in appearance
- Brown-tinted urine
- Cramping of muscles
- Bloody stools
- Bruise or bleed easily
What are the treatment options for liver cirrhosis?
Liver scarring and damage generally cannot be reversed; however, it can still function, even if two-thirds of the organ has been destroyed or excised. Here are some of the treatment options the Specialists in Gastroenterology team might recommend to help boost the liver's ability to function:
- Reduce the risk of further damage to the liver
- Managing the unique complications of your condition
- Liver transplant procedure
- Antiviral medications for hepatitis B and C
- Avoiding specific medications (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.)
- Immunization for hepatitis A and B
Are there any complications of liver cirrhosis?
The liver maintains a very important role in the body, and any amount of damage or injury sustained by the liver will negatively impact its ability to function as normal. Potential health complications of cirrhosis of the liver involve:
- Hepatic encephalopathy (a buildup of toxins in the blood leading to brain damage)
- Hypersplenism (an overactive spleen)
- Bacterial peritonitis (inflammation of the abdomen wall)
- Cancer of the liver
Specialized treatments for liver conditions
Cirrhosis of the liver can affect your health and wellness in a number of ways. At Specialists in Gastroenterology, we strive to help you discover a life in which further damage to the liver can be avoided. To find care for liver cirrhosis in St. Louis, MO, please request a consultation with one of our gastroenterology providers as soon as possible.
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