By Colorado Center for Digestive Disorders
August 04, 2016
Category: Health
Tags: cirrhosis  

Cirrhosis is a serious liver condition that can prevent the liver from performing its most important functions effectively, including cirrhosisremoving toxins from your body, storing nutrients and making blood proteins. Dr. Jonathan Jensen, your Longmont, CO, gastroenterologist at Colorado Center for Digestive Disorders, shares some information about cirrhosis.

What is cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis occurs when scar tissue replaces healthy tissue in your liver. When the condition occurs, the scarring prevents blood from flowing freely through your liver and slows the processing of hormones, toxins, and nutrients. Without treatment, cirrhosis can eventually affect most or all of your liver.

What are common signs of cirrhosis?

If you have cirrhosis, you may notice:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Yellowing of the whites of your eyes or skin
  • Blood in your stools or light-colored stools
  • Orange or brown urine
  • Itchy skin
  • Bruises
  • Fever
  • Fluid retention
  • Confusion or personality changes

What causes cirrhosis?

Although many people associate cirrhosis with alcoholism, it is not the only cause. Other causes include:

  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Bile duct disease or blockages
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Repeated heart failure (if fluid builds up in your liver)
  • Fatty liver, a condition that occurs if you are obese or have diabetes, high cholesterol or coronary artery disease
  • Genetic diseases, such as hemochromatosis, Wilson disease, autoimmune hepatitis, Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency or glycogen storage disease

How do gastroenterologists treat cirrhosis?

Treatment depends on the cause. Stopping drinking will prevent further damage if the condition is caused by excessive alcohol consumption. If you suffer for hepatitis, your doctor can prescribe steroids and anti-viral medications. Treating underlying conditions and diseases can slow or stop the progression of cirrhosis. Gastroenterologists can also offer treatment to help you manage the symptoms of cirrhosis, such as prescribing diuretics to reduce fluid retention. If the cirrhosis is particularly severe and prevents your liver from functioning efficiently, a liver transplant may be needed.

Are you concerned that you or a loved one may suffer from cirrhosis? Call Dr. Jonathan Jensen, your Longmont, CO, gastroenterologist at Colorado Center for Digestive Disorders at (303) 776-6115 to schedule an appointment.

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