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Cirrhosis

Gastroenterology located in St. Clair Shores and Macomb, MI
Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis services offered in St. Clair Shores and Macomb, MI

Many people associate cirrhosis with alcohol abuse, but you can develop this serious liver disease from many problems that aren’t related to alcohol. The experienced gastroenterologists at G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C., have extensive experience diagnosing cirrhosis, monitoring the health of your liver, and providing the treatment you need to stop progressive liver damage. To schedule an appointment, call the office in St. Clair Shores or Macomb, Michigan.

Cirrhosis Q&A

What is cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is an advanced stage of liver disease. Liver disease begins when the organ suffers damage, often due to:

  • Viral hepatitis (hepatitis A, B, or C)
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Inherited diseases (cystic fibrosis)
  • Blocked bile ducts
  • Certain medications
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Parasitic infections

No matter what harms your liver, it causes inflammation. If the underlying condition goes untreated, the ongoing inflammation causes scar tissue. Then the scar tissue begins replacing healthy liver tissue, a condition called fibrosis.

Cirrhosis develops as liver disease progresses and a large amount of scar tissue takes over. Your liver may be able to heal if you get treatment before you have extensive scarring. But by the time you have cirrhosis, the existing liver damage is permanent.

What symptoms develop due to cirrhosis?

Your symptoms begin as cirrhosis worsens and scar tissue interferes with liver function. You may have symptoms such as:

  • Itchy skin
  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Abdominal bloating (ascites)
  • Swelling in your legs and feet (fluid buildup)
  • Digestive tract bleeding (due to esophageal varices, or enlarged veins)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Easy bruising
  • Spider-like veins
  • Fatigue

 

As your liver fails, waste products and toxins accumulate and reach your brain. This condition, called hepatic encephalopathy, causes confusion, slurred speech, mental slowness, and excessive drowsiness. 

How is cirrhosis treated?

The team at G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C. provides comprehensive care for cirrhosis, beginning with diagnostic testing and including an individualized treatment plan.

Your provider treats the cause of your liver disease whenever possible. Successful treatment stops the progressive scarring and preserves the remaining healthy liver. They also regularly monitor your cirrhosis, performing specialized tests that show the amount of scarring and the rate at which it progresses.

Everyone with cirrhosis needs to avoid alcohol. If alcohol abuse contributed to your liver disease, eliminating alcohol may significantly improve your liver health.

You can support your liver by following a diet that limits salt, sweets, fats, and processed foods. Your provider may also recommend regular screenings for liver cancer.

Without treatment, cirrhosis eventually causes such extensive liver damage that your liver fails. Then the only treatment is a liver transplant.

Don’t wait to schedule an appointment for a liver evaluation. At the first sign of cirrhosis, call G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C.

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