Cirrhosis (Liver)

  • Medical Author:
    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Symptoms of Cirrhosis of the Liver

Individuals with cirrhosis may have few or no symptoms and signs of liver disease. Some of the symptoms may be nonspecific, that is, they don't suggest that the liver is their cause. Some of the more common symptoms and signs of cirrhosis include:

  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice) due to the accumulation of bilirubin in the blood
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itching
  • Easy bruising from decreased production of blood clotting factors by the diseased liver.

Individuals with cirrhosis also develop symptoms and signs from the complications of cirrhosis.

Quick GuideDigestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions

Digestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions

Cirrhosis facts

  • Cirrhosis is a complication of liver disease which involves loss of liver cells and irreversible scarring of the liver.
  • Alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C are common causes of cirrhosis, although there are many other causes.
  • Cirrhosis can cause weakness, loss of appetite, easy bruising, yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and fatigue.
  • Diagnosis of cirrhosis can be suggested by history, physical examination and blood tests, and can be confirmed by liver biopsy.
  • Complications of cirrhosis include edema and ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, bleeding from varices, hepatic encephalopathy, hepatorenal syndrome, hepatopulmonary syndrome, hypersplenism, and liver cancer.
  • Treatment of cirrhosis is designed to prevent further damage to the liver, treat complications of cirrhosis, and preventing or detecting liver cancer early.
  • Transplantation of the liver is an important option for treating patients with advanced cirrhosis.
Reviewed on 10/11/2016
References
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE:

UpToDate. Patient information: Cirrhosis (Beyond the Basics).

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