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Cirrhosis: Facts, Myths and Dangers

The liver is an extremely vital organ within the human body, cirrhosis can cause major impacts to an individual’s health. This is an extremely dangerous condition that can result in permanent damage or even death.

A common leading cause of the condition is excessive drinking and alcoholism. Fortunately, getting help to overcome alcohol addiction is crucial to preventing this deadly condition.

Cirrhosis Facts

Cirrhosis is a condition in which permanent scarring occurs on the liver. The liver is one of the vital organs within the body, meaning that it is essential to life. When the liver gets damaged by scarring, its level of functionality decreases. This organ is crucial to filtering toxins, as well as providing essential chemicals needed by the body.

As the liver is damaged by this condition, its ability to filter and provide these chemicals is hindered, leading to different effects. Hepatitis, or inflammation in the liver, causes the liver to swell. With ongoing swelling, the liver, in an attempt to heal itself, begins to scar. Cirrhosis is dangerous, and without proper care, it can be deadly.

Cirrhosis Myths

There are many myths surrounding this condition. One of which is that it is caused solely by heavy drinking or alcohol addiction. While many cases are due to heavy drinking, several conditions can lead to this kind of damage to the liver. Another myth surrounds the ability to reverse the condition.

Early intervention, combined with lifestyle changes can help to not only slow its progression but also help to improve liver functionality.

Cirrhosis is a condition that can affect people of all ages, contrary to the belief that it affects older generations. While it is a condition affecting the liver, it is not solely the liver that is affected. This condition can cause complications in other organs, making medical intervention all the more essential.

What Are Its Stages?

Like many medical conditions, there are stages to this one as well. Knowing the stages, and how to prevent progression of the condition can be beneficial for early intervention.

Medical care is essential for preventing cirrhosis from worsening and potentially being able to improve liver function.

Stage 1- Inflammation

Whether from viral infections, drug addiction, or heavy drinking, the inflammation can be detrimental. As the liver experiences prolonged swelling, scarring may occur.

During the initial stage of inflammation, though, the signs and symptoms can go unnoticed. This is because the body can adjust to the decreased liver function. However, it is crucial to monitor and treat the underlying causes of the inflammation to prevent further complications.

Stage 2- Scarring

As previously stated, continuous swelling within the liver can result in the organ attempting to heal itself by scarring. Scarring causes decreased ability to function. Blood flow can be hindered by scarring, as well as experiencing increased abdominal pain and fatigue.

Other symptoms that may occur as a result of scarring can include decreased appetite, weakness, and occasional jaundice. 

Stage 3- Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a chronic liver condition that is characterized by scarring that results in decreased liver function. This condition is indicative of late-stage liver damage that can be caused by alcohol abuse.

Extensive damage to the liver can result in dangerous impacts to health, and lead to requiring a transplant to prevent severe impacts including death. Preventing further damage is essential, intervention to begin drinking cessation and address the damage is crucial.

Liver Disease

Looking out for signs of liver disease can help to identify the condition and treat it to prevent progression. Signs of liver disease can include unusually dark urine, fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain and swelling, as well as abnormal bleeding and bruising.

Treatment consists of addressing underlying conditions such as alcohol addiction. Then it implements lifestyle changes to help prevent the condition from getting worse. 

Can Cirrhosis Be Reversed?

This condition is chronic, meaning that it progresses and is long-term. However, cirrhosis can be partially reversed. While the liver may not return to 100% normal, if it is detected early and the underlying causes (such as alcohol addiction and heavy drinking) are addressed, progression can be prevented. Simultaneously, the liver can manage to regain some of its functionality

Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol abuse is one of the leading causes of cirrhosis. It is also a highly addictive substance, leading to damage in many different aspects of an individual’s life.

Once the decision is made to stop drinking, it can be extremely difficult to stop without proper care and support. Alcohol withdrawal can be excruciating and extremely uncomfortable. With proper care, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be managed, making cessation easier. 

Start Healing

As vital as the liver is within the human body, not many people understand the true impacts alcohol can have on it. Often, those who struggle with alcohol continue to drink despite the impacts it has caused in their life, which only complicates the condition worse.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol, know that there is hope, there is help available. At Louisville Addiction Center we offer care tailored to individual needs that can aid in beginning a path of healing and recovery.

Call us today and begin your journey of healing.