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:
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
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
Decreased Appetite/Unexplained Weight Loss
Fatigue & Insomnia
Upper Right Quad pain
Pruritus (itchy) skin
Serious Signs & Symptoms
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 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.
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
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.
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
Treatments for more complicated cases include:
TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt)
Sclerotherapy (halts bleeding)
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.