Cirrhosis Of The Liver Life Expectancy

Cirrhosis of the liver is a very common disease that is related to over 31,000 deaths, within the United States each year. This is an advanced disease that is better known as end-stage liver disease. The most common cause of cirrhosis is linked to extreme alcohol abuse. The liver is a very important body organ that has many functions including:

 

Liver filtering system is responsible for filtering the toxins, chemicals, and bacteria from the human blood.

Produces bile (breaks down fats) and immunoglobulin (important for immunity)

Secretes Angiotensinogen (peptide hormone, vasoconstriction), thrombopoietin (glycoprotein hormone), hepcidin (peptide hormone), and betatrophin

Produces plasma proteins, which are responsible for the clotting factors

Excretes Bilirubin (waste product), a buildup of bilirubin will cause jaundice.

Stores glycogen(gives the body energy), fats, iron, copper, Vitamin A, D, K, and B12

Regulates Cholesterol, thyroid and sex hormones

 

The Kupffer’s cells are found in the liver sinusoids and are responsible for destroying bacteria and worn out blood cells.

 

Etiology

 

There are many causes of cirrhosis, with chronic alcoholism being the main culprit followed by Hepatitis B and C. The liver cannot possibly keep up with its functions, when it is overwhelmed by excessive alcohol. Over time the healthy tissue will become damaged and replaced with scar tissue. An individual would have to consume 8 -16 oz. of hard alcohol daily over a fifteen year period in order to develop cirrhosis (CDC). With the buildup of scar tissue, the liver functions will be compromised to the point of liver failure.

 

Early Signs & Symptoms

 

Petechiae (bleeding under the skin) small purplish/red flat spots on the skin

Decreased Appetite/Unexplained Weight Loss

Fatigue & Insomnia

Upper Right Quad pain

Pruritus (itchy) skin

 

Serious Signs & Symptoms

 

Ascites (buildup of fluid in the peritoneal cavity)

Tachycardia (increased pulse rate)

Alopecia (hair loss)

Jaundice (yellowish skin pigment and sclera (whites of the eye)

Tarry colored stools

Epistaxis (nose bleeds)

Hematemesis (bloody vomitus)

Muscle cramps, Decreased muscle mass, Unstable gait

Hematuria (dark colored urine contains blood)

Encephalopathy (abnormal brain function) causes confusion and dementia

Asterixis (flapping tremor) due to encephalopathy

 

Liver Regeneration

 

Liver regeneration is definitely a strange phenomenon. The liver is the only human organ that is capable of replacing damaged tissues with new cells. A cirrhotic liver will be unable to regenerate itself, which will eventually lead to liver failure.

 

Diagnosis

 

Liver Biopsy

Liver Function Test (tests for bilirubin and enzyme buildup)

Kidney Function Test (Creatinine)

PT & INR (bleeding and clotting factors)

Magnetic Resonance Elastography

Computed Tomography Of the Liver

 

Treatment

 

A total transformation of your lifestyle is in order and must be the first step in treating your diagnosis. If you cannot commit to smoking and alcohol cessation, then further treatment will surely fail. Avoid over the counter analgesics (Tylenol Ibuprofen), as they are known to cause liver damage and bleeding.

Beta-Blockers (propranolol) to treat hypertension (high blood pressure)

Vasoconstrictors & Vasodilators (effects adenosine in the renal system)

Hepatitis A & B immunizations are required, along with the influenza and pneumococcus vaccinations

Diuretics (removes salt and water from body) Lasix

Antibiotics

 

Treatments for more complicated cases include:

 

Paracentesis (removal of fluid from the peritoneal cavity)

TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt)

Sclerotherapy (halts bleeding)

Liver Transplant

 

Life Expectancy

 

The mortality rates of individuals that are experiencing liver failure normalize around a 50-80% survival rate. Individuals that have been diagnosed with hepatitis B or C have a five year survival rate of 71-85% (sw.org). Cirrhosis is the third most common cause of death in individuals between the ages of 45-65.