What is Nonalcoholic Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is a late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions, such as hepatitis and chronic alcoholism. The liver carries out several necessary functions, including detoxifying harmful substances in your body, cleaning your blood and making vital nutrients.
Cirrhosis occurs in response to damage to your liver. Each time your liver is injured, it tries to repair itself. In the process, scar tissue forms. As cirrhosis progresses, more and more scar tissue forms, making it difficult for the liver to function.
Most people associate cirrhosis with heavy drinking, but that’s not the whole story. While alcohol is the leading cause of cirrhosis, even teetotalers can develop the condition. Any scarring of the liver not caused by drinking is referred to by the broad term nonalcoholic cirrhosis.
How common is Nonalcoholic Cirrhosis?
Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of Nonalcoholic Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis often has no signs or symptoms until liver damage is extensive. When signs and symptoms do occur, they may include:
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes Nonalcoholic Cirrhosis?
One of the liver’s jobs is clearing germs from the blood. Occasionally, however, the germs get the upper hand. A chronic infection by the hepatitis C virus is the most common cause of nonalcoholic cirrhosis in the United States. In most cases, it takes many years for the infection to lead to scarring. Still, only about 20 percent of people with chronic hepatitis C ever develop cirrhosis.
Chronic infections of hepatitis B can also lead to cirrhosis. Worldwide, this may be the most common cause of cirrhosis, but it is rare in the United States, where children are routinely vaccinated against hepatitis B. The virus that causes hepatitis A never sticks around long enough to cause cirrhosis.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a condition in which the liver contains extra fat and becomes inflamed, is another potential starting point for cirrhosis. The cause of NASH isn’t well-understood, but obesity, diabetes, protein malnutrition, heart disease, and corticosteroid drugs all seem to raise the risk.
Some people can trace cirrhosis to an overactive immune system. For unknown reasons, they produce antibodies that attack liver cells as if they were intruders. The liver becomes damaged and inflamed, a condition known as autoimmune hepatitis.
Other rare causes of cirrhosis include blocked or inflamed bile ducts, severe reactions to medications or supplements such as methotrexate or Vitamin A, frequent bouts of heart failure, and inherited conditions such as cystic fibrosis, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, and Wilson’s disease.
In up to 10 percent of all cases, no cause of cirrhosis can be found. Doctors call these cases “cryptogenic cirrhosis.” Increasingly, however, researchers theorize that many of these cases are actually caused by NASH.
What increases my risk for Nonalcoholic Cirrhosis?
There are many risk factors for Nonalcoholic Cirrhosis, such as:
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is Nonalcoholic Cirrhosis diagnosed?
People with early-stage cirrhosis of the liver usually don’t have symptoms. Often, cirrhosis is first detected through a routine blood test or checkup. Your doctor may order one or more laboratory tests that may suggest a problem with your liver, such as cirrhosis.
Your doctor may order imaging and other tests to further diagnose cirrhosis:
If you have cirrhosis, your doctor is likely to recommend regular diagnostic tests to monitor for signs of disease progression or complications, especially esophageal varices and liver cancer.
How is Nonalcoholic Cirrhosis treated?
Treatment for cirrhosis depends on the cause and extent of your liver damage. The goals of treatment are to slow the progression of scar tissue in the liver and to prevent or treat symptoms and complications of cirrhosis. You may need to be hospitalized if you have severe liver damage.
Treatment for the underlying cause of cirrhosis
In early cirrhosis, it may be possible to minimize damage to the liver by treating the underlying cause. The options include:
Treatment for complications of cirrhosis
Your doctor will work to treat any complications of cirrhosis, including:
In advanced cases of cirrhosis, when the liver ceases to function, a liver transplant may be the only treatment option. People usually need to consider this option when they develop symptoms from cirrhosis, such as jaundice, significant fluid retention (ascites), bleeding varices, hepatic encephalopathy, kidney dysfunction, or liver cancer. A liver transplant replaces your liver with a healthy liver from a deceased donor or with part of a liver from a living donor. Cirrhosis is the most common reason for a liver transplant.
Candidates for liver transplant undergo extensive testing to determine whether they are healthy enough to have a good outcome following surgery.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Nonalcoholic Cirrhosis?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Nonalcoholic Cirrhosis:
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.