Cirrhosis is a condition affecting the liver, largely caused as a result of chronic liver disease. Brought on primarily by alcoholism, there are extensive reasons for cirrhosis, many of which remain unknown. Other major causes include hepatitis B and C, fatty liver disease, and causes related to insulin resistance causing fatty liver. Cirrhosis is a condition that’s largely unknown and undiscovered, with causes being varied and difficult to pinpoint, symptoms equally varied and ambiguous, and cures and treatment relatively limited.
As one of the most difficult disease to diagnose, particularly due to the massive variety of symptoms and individual cases, cirrhosis can cause immense trouble to those that suffer from it, and cause some huge discomfort, loss of life quality, and infection and related conditions leading to death. Due to these huge problems caused by cirrhosis, it’s absolutely essential to take note of the condition early and be sure to diagnose it effectively.
Some of the most common causes of cirrhosis are tiredness and general fatigue. While these are easy to diagnose and notice, they’re difficult to pinpoint to cirrhosis in particular. As fatigue and tiredness can be symptoms of any disease, ranging from the common cold to other more serious conditions, it’s very difficult to judge cirrhosis on this condition alone. In addition to fatigue, loss of appetite, large loss of weight, and a near complete loss of any sex drive are also common symptoms. While these symptoms are certainly the easiest to spot, they’re not the limits of cirrhosis, and there are many other symptoms caused by the disease.
It’s common amongst cirrhosis patients to experience complications of the disease at the same time as the symptoms begin to show. This makes it difficult to diagnose the disease while it’s in its primary stages, and very likely that it will only show up after major effects have taken place. One of the most visually obvious complications and symptoms of cirrhosis is a yellowing of the eyes, a condition known as Jaundice, which is caused by a deposition of bilirubin in the tissues. A product of old blood cells in the liver, bilirubin moves to this tissue through the breakdown of liver cells.
Another major symptom is abdominal pain and bloating, primarily caused by enlargement and swelling caused by fluid retention. As fluid is stored, the abdominal wall is pushed out, forcing the stomach area to look unnaturally large and oddly shaped. Abdominal pain is common, either caused by enlargement or the liver or the presence of gall stones. This fluid retention can also lead to weight gain, although it’s primarily water mass and not fat or muscle gain. In fact, due to the large losses in appetite, it’s more common for fat and muscle reserves to decrease because of cirrhosis, while water reserves increase.
In men, hormonal changes are common, which can lead to a wide variety of other problems and symptoms. Gynecomastia, the proliferation of breast tissue in males, can lead to fatty deposits and inflamed glands in the chest, and give a breast-like appearance to male chests. Occurring in 2/3rds of all patients, this common condition also comes with decreased muscle mass due to the lack of testosterone and other male hormones, and the typically large decrease in caloric consumption as the disease affects the patients appetite.
The end results of cirrhosis can often be fatal, with liver transplants often being the only real treatment step. As one of the most common killers in the United States, it’s absolutely essential that anyone who believes they are affected by the disease have it checked and attended to as soon as possible.
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