Before answering the question, “how long do you live with cirrhosis of the liver”, let us look at an overview of cirrhosis – its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
Overview of Liver Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a chronic progressive disease of the liver characterized by the replacement of healthy cells with scar tissue. Scar tissues are nonfunctional; they cannot perform the basic functions of normal liver: break down waste products produced in the body, detoxification and removal of toxins, metabolic processing of drugs, production of enough bile salts for fat digestion, production of important proteins and enzymes, storage of sugar and minerals, and many more. Scarred liver tissue cannot return to its normal form but there are ways on how to save liver portions that are still normal.
Cirrhosis can be caused by viral hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis, hereditary hemochromatosis, alcoholic liver disease (continued excessive intake of alcohol for a long time), fatty liver disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis, Wilson’s disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, parasitic infections, effects of drugs & toxins, and other possible causes.
The symptoms of liver cirrhosis may not show up in the early stages. However, as the cirrhosis progresses, symptoms like fatigue, weakness, appetite loss, stomach problems, and weight loss occur. Cirrhosis can also lead to other more serious conditions: jaundice (yellowing of skin and eye); appearance of bruises; bleeding easily; nosebleeds; bloating; swelling of the abdomen and legs due to build up of fluids; kidney failure; development of varices in the stomach and esophagus; portal hypertension or increase in blood pressure in vein entering the liver; build up of waste materials in the blood causing neurological problems like confusion and thinking difficulty; and others.
Liver cirrhosis is diagnosed using blood tests, imaging techniques (e.g. x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound) and liver biopsy. If a patient is diagnosed with cirrhosis, the stage of his/her cirrhosis will be determined.
There is no procedure or medication that can reverse the condition of scar tissue. However, the progression of cirrhosis can be stopped by treating the cause. If the cause is alcoholism, the treatment is to completely stop drinking alcohol. Moreover, if the cause is viral hepatitis, antiviral medications are used.
Early diagnosis is important in stopping the progression of cirrhosis in patients. The patients are required to follow appropriate treatment plans to prevent further damage to the liver. In patients with advance liver cirrhosis, liver transplantation can be the only possible treatment.
How Long Do You Live With Cirrhosis of the Liver
[ad#co-1]In answering the question “how long do you live with cirrhosis of the liver”, certain factors need to be considered. The life expectancy of a patient with cirrhosis will depend on the stage of his/her liver cirrhosis and his/her adherence to the treatment plan. In case of early stage liver cirrhosis, the patient is provided with a treatment plan that he/she should strictly follow in order to prevent the progression of cirrhosis. The patient can live a normal life as long as significant portions of his/her liver are still functioning. If the cause of the liver cirrhosis has something to do with the patient’s life style, the doctor will advise him/her to stop bad habits such as alcohol drinking, eating unhealthy foods, smoking, bad hygiene, etc. If cirrhosis is caused by viral hepatitis and parasitic infection, life expectancy will depend on the ability of drugs to fight the viruses and parasites. In case of advance liver cirrhosis or complete scarring of the liver, death can occur anytime unless a successful liver transplantation is performed.
The content in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor before taking any action suggested on this page.[ad#afterpost]
References and Further Reading
- What I Need To Know About Cirrhosis of the Liver. NIDKK-NIH.
- What I Need To Know About Cirrhosis of the Liver.YourDictionary.com
- Cirrhosis of the Liver. MedicineNet.com