Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease that results from the progressive destruction of liver cells and the formation of scar tissue. This scarring can cause the liver to become hard and nodular, leading to a variety of symptoms and complications. The symptoms of cirrhosis can vary depending on the severity of the disease and the underlying cause, but some of the most common signs and symptoms include:
Fatigue and weakness: As the liver becomes damaged, it may not be able to perform its usual functions, leading to feelings of fatigue and weakness.
Jaundice: Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes due to the buildup of bilirubin, a waste product that is normally filtered out by the liver. In cirrhosis, the liver may not be able to process bilirubin properly, leading to jaundice.
Ascites: Ascites is a buildup of fluid in the abdomen, which can cause abdominal swelling and discomfort. In advanced cases of cirrhosis, ascites may be present.
Edema: Edema is a buildup of fluid in the legs, feet, and ankles, which can cause swelling and discomfort. This can be caused by the liver’s inability to produce enough albumin, a protein that helps to regulate fluid balance in the body.
Spider angiomas: Spider angiomas are small, red, spider-like blood vessels that appear on the skin’s surface. They are caused by the dilation of small blood vessels in the skin and are a common symptom of cirrhosis.
Palmar erythema: Palmar erythema is a reddening of the palms of the hands, which can occur in people with cirrhosis due to changes in the blood vessels in the skin.
Encephalopathy: Encephalopathy is a condition that affects the brain and can cause confusion, memory loss, and other cognitive problems. It can occur in people with cirrhosis due to the buildup of toxins in the blood that are normally filtered out by the liver.
Gynecomastia: Gynecomastia is a condition in which the breasts become enlarged in men. This can be caused by hormonal changes that occur in people with cirrhosis.
Easy bruising and bleeding: The liver produces clotting factors that help to stop bleeding when an injury occurs. In cirrhosis, the liver may not produce enough of these clotting factors, leading to easy bruising and bleeding.
Itching: Itching can occur in people with cirrhosis due to the buildup of bile acids in the skin.
In addition to these symptoms, people with cirrhosis may also experience other complications, such as liver cancer, portal hypertension, and liver failure. It is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, as early detection and treatment can improve outcomes and prevent further complications.