Is life worth living? It all depends on the liver - William James
image by: My Sick Liver
If you’re a woman, you may be at risk for developing cirrhosis, even if you are young and don’t drink alcohol. That’s because women’s risks for developing cirrhosis change as they age, hepatologist Jamile Wakim-Fleming, MD, says. “This is a unique feature of women and it should make them more vigilant about their liver health – not only when they are older but throughout their life, and regardless of how old they are,” Dr. Wakim-Fleming says. Surprisingly, women as young as their late teens and early 20s can develop cirrhosis.
For example, autoimmune hepatitis is more common in women than men and can begin at a very early age. It may cause abdominal pain, jaundice, fatigue, weight…
You might think that men are more likely to develop cirrhosis than women because they drink alcoholic beverages much more often than women. But women actually are at higher risk of developing cirrhosis — even when they drink only half the amount of alcohol men drink.
Our liver has the important role of acting as our body's filtration system, and while many of us have joked around that drinking too much is slowly ruining our organ, there are several other factors that can also do serious damage.
This blog was created to help other people who have cirrhosis, and help their loved ones as well.
There are a lot of things that you can do to fight this disease. Just don’t ever give up. You will have bad days. We all do. But you will also have good days. That’s just how life works with our without illness.
My journey living with cirrhosis to transplant.
Cirrhosis is caused by chronic (long-term) liver diseases that damage liver tissue. It can take many years for liver damage to lead to cirrhosis.
There are several known risk factors for developing cirrhosis. The most common risk factors are: ◾Excess alcohol use – regular consumption of more than 1-2 alcoholic beverage a day for women or 2-3 alcoholic beverages a day for men over a long period of time can lead to liver cirrhosis. Patients with other risk factors for liver disease may develop cirrhosis with even less regular alcohol use. ◾Infection with viral hepatitis – while not all patients who have chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or the hepatitis C virus (HCV) will develop cirrhosis, chronic viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of liver disease in the world. ◾Obesity and Diabetes – obesity and diabetes are both risk factors for a form of liver injury known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Over time NASH can lead to significant liver injury and cirrhosis. Not all patients with obesity or diabetes will develop NASH, but given the obesity epidemic in the United States, NASH is predicted to become the leading cause of cirrhosis in the future (as the number of cases of viral hepatitis declines).
Causes of cirrhosis include •heavy alcohol use •some drugs, medicines, and harmful chemicals •infections •chronic hepatitis B, C, or D—viral infections that attack the liver •autoimmune hepatitis, which causes the body’s immune system to destroy liver cells •nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is often caused by obesity •diseases that damage or destroy bile ducts—tubes that carry bile from the liver
Alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C are common causes of cirrhosis, although there are many other causes.
Cirrhosis is the end result of chronic liver damage caused by chronic liver disease. Common causes of chronic liver disease in the United States are: •Hepatitis B or C infection •Alcohol abuse Less common causes of cirrhosis include: •Autoimmune hepatitis •Bile duct disorders •Some medicines •Hereditary diseases •Other liver diseases, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
There are usually few symptoms in the early stages of cirrhosis. However, as your liver loses its ability to function properly, you're likely to experience a loss of appetite, nausea and itchy skin. In the later stages, symptoms can include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), vomiting blood, dark, tarry-looking stools and a build-up of fluid in the legs (oedema) and abdomen (ascites).
Cirrhosis is a diffuse hepatic process characterised by fibrosis and the conversion of normal liver architecture into structurally abnormal nodules. Cirrhosis represents the final histological pathway for a wide variety of liver diseases. The progression to cirrhosis is very variable and may occur over weeks or many years. Around 80-90% of the liver parenchyma needs to be destroyed before there are clinical signs of liver failure. However, there is often a poor correlation between the histological findings and the clinical picture.
Your Path to Meaningful Connections in the World of Health and Medicine
Connect, Collaborate, and Engage!
Coming Soon - Stitches, the innovative chat app from the creators of HWN. Join meaningful conversations on health and medical topics. Share text, images, and videos seamlessly. Connect directly within HWN's topic pages and articles.