We have learned a person close to a family member is dealing with scrrosis of the liver. She has been seriously ill and hospitalized more than once. She has had periods of cognitive failure, seziures, etc. It is commonly thought that this disease can result in death. And these more recent hospitalizations indicating the illness is progressing and what comes next?
Cirrhosis is a condition in which the liver slowly deteriorates and malfunctions due to chronic injury. Scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue, partially blocking the flow of blood through the liver and ultimately resulting in liver dysfunction.
Some general some symptoms of liver disease include nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, indigestion, change in stools, jaundice, itching, etc.
As liver function deteriorates, one or more complications may develop. In severe conditions with greater liver dysfunction abdominal distension, swelling of the legs, anorexia, lethargy is seen.
Treatment for cirrhosis depends on the cause of the disease and whether complications are present. The goals of treatment are to slow the progression of scar tissue in the liver and prevent or treat the complications of the disease. Hospitalization may be necessary for cirrhosis with complications.
A proper nutritious diet, avoidance of alcohol is important. Medications are given to treat various symptoms of cirrhosis, such as itching and abdominal pain. In case of severe disease where the liver is severely defective, liver transplantation may be also required.
But in cases where the condition is detected in much early stages and effective treatment is initiated the condition can be controlled and progression can be delayed and patients can enjoy a near normal life.
The severity of cirrhosis is graded with the Child-Pugh Score, which takes into consideration the bilirubin and albumin levels, the prothrombin time, presence of ascites and hepatic encephalopathy. The scores are used to know the probable prognosis.
Class A (scores 5-6) have a favourable prognosis.
Class B (scores 7-9) - has a unpredictable prognosis
Class C (scores > 9) - has a poor outcome with a high risk of death. It is in such patients, that liver transplantation is done with urgency, to prevent deaths.
Based on the history, presence of cognitive failure, seziures, and recurrent hospitalizations indicate the possibility of severe liver cirrhosis with hepatic encephalopathy changes. Hepatic encephalopathy is a worsening of brain function that occurs when the liver is no longer able to remove toxic substances in the blood. This condition can rapidly get worse and become an emergency condition with a poor prognosis, unless liver transplantation is possible.
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