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Why does cirrhosis develop?

Liver cirrhosis is a dangerous disease constantly progressing up to the complete impossibility of liver functioning. The disease is characterized by the death of liver cells (hepatocytes).

There are several reasons for the development of liver cirrhosis:

  • Viral hepatitis B, C, D, etc., which are the cause of virus-related liver cirrhosis.
  • Alcohol abuse, which leads to alcoholic liver disease and alcohol-related cirrhosis.
  • Toxic poisoning by industrial or medicinal poisons.
  • Fatty liver hepatosis, autoimmune hepatitis, etc.

Virus-related liver cirrhosis: characteristic properties

Hepatitis virus B, C, or D is the cause of virus-related liver cirrhosis. Chronic hepatitis C progresses to cirrhosis in most cases. What is viral hepatitis? Viral hepatitis is a chronic infectious disease developing when patients contract hepatitis virus B, C, or D. Moreover, B and C type viruses cause the disease in isolation, and D type virus – only with the help B type virus. These viruses can be contracted from infected individuals or carriers through their blood (cuts, punctures, blood transfusions, non-sterile household objects or medical devices, sexually, during childbirth from mother to child, etc.).

Virus-related cirrhosis develops as a result of the negative effect of the virus on liver cells – inflammatory and autoimmune responses. Hepatitis B virus itself does not have a toxic effect on hepatocytes (liver cells). When the virus reaches the liver via the bloodstream, it starts multiplying and triggering mutations in hepatocytes. Human body treats the liver cells as alien cells and tries to destroy them. The dead cells of the liver are replaced by connective tissue (fibrosis), which in itself damages normal liver cells even more, numerous necrosis foci develop (cirrhosis). In addition to the growth of connective tissue, hepatitis C and D have a toxic effect on the liver, which accelerates the progression of cirrhosis.

Alcohol-related liver cirrhosis: characteristic properties

The liver is responsible for processing almost all alcohol entering the human body. At the same time, ethyl alcohol damages the liver cells, fibrosis develops (minor scarring, which leads to the impossibility of organ functioning in due mode of operation), and the latter in turn progresses to cirrhosis. Typically, in cases of alcohol abuse the process of organ damage develops slowly, compared, for example, to the virus-related liver cirrhosis. Yet, it inevitably leads to liver cirrhosis.

Symptoms of liver cirrhosis

Often, pain in the liver is the first sign of virus-related liver cirrhosis. Yet, most people may remain unaware of the disease for many years. And although the final diagnosis of alcohol-related liver disease or virus-related liver cirrhosis can only be made by a hepatologist, there are signs typical for people suffering from this disease.

Symptoms of cirrhosis:

  • Weakness, persistent drowsiness, irritability, poor performance capability
  • Significant weight loss, muscular atrophy
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rosacea of the body and face, erythema of the feet and palms, varicose veins
  • In male patients: growth of mammary glands, fat deposits on abdomen and thighs, unnatural weight loss in hands and feet, alopecia in the pubic area and armpits, decreased libido, testicular atrophy
  • Increased bruising (sometimes for no apparent reason)
  • Skin becomes yellowish, including the mucosa in the mouth; stripes appear on nails
  • Nausea, vomiting, flatulence, decreased appetite
  • Shortness of breath, cough

Stages

The accurate diagnosis and stage of cirrhosis can be determined only by a healthcare professional upon required laboratory and ultrasound diagnostics with liver elastometry. There are several stages of the disease, which differ in the degree of damages to the liver tissue.

  • Compensated stage. At this stage, the remaining liver cells function normally, so that there are no visible symptoms of the disease.
  • Subcompensated stage – liver function is disrupted, as many hepatocytes have died. The appetite decreases, there is abdomen pain, rapid fatigability.
  • Decompensated stage – most of the liver cells have died. Patients develop portal hypertension, their skin turns yellow.
  • Terminal stage is the last stage of liver cirrhosis. It leads to fatal complications without liver transplantation or special therapy.

Diagnostics for liver cirrhosis

In cases of viral hepatitis B, HBsAg, HBeAg, HBV DNA, and DNA polymerase are found in the blood. In this case, HBV DNA is a method for determination of the viral activity degree (HBV DNA count of more than 200 ng/L is indicative of increased activity, which can cause cirrhosis, therefore, treatment is required, the objective of the treatment is to reduce viral activity, to bring it to the so-called dormancy). Viral hepatitis C has the following markers: HBcAg, anti-HCV, HBV RNA. Viral hepatitis D is characterized by the presence of HDV RNA and anti-HDV in the blood.
Simultaneously, the patient is prescribed an ultrasound examination of the liver with elastometry, which allows determining the presence and stage of liver cirrhosis and prescribing certain treatment not only for the hepatitis virus, but also for regeneration of liver cells.

Alcohol-related liver cirrhosis can be diagnosed by elastometry or liver biopsy.

What is important to know about liver cirrhosis?

7 years

are the average life expectancy of patients with cirrhosis from the moment of diagnosis establishment providing the absence of proper treatment

300 thousand

of patients die from liver cirrhosis every year

6th place

in the world among diseases leading to death at the age of 35 to 60 years

5 years

are the average life expectancy in case of liver transplantation, but not therapeutic liver restoration

What are the methods of cirrhosis treatment?

Method of Treatment:

Liver transplantation

Treatment in the REGENERATION Clinic

Therapy waiting time

2 to 5 years.

treatment starts immediately

Treatment injury for the patient

very traumatic.

safe, painless, non-traumatic

Treatment injury for the member of a donor family

very traumatic.

no need for donor

Post-therapeutic restoration

long-term, expensive.

no need

Adverse events

deterioration of the life quality, lifelong intake of immunosuppressants, increased risk of death due to viral, respiratory diseases.

absent

Life expectancy after treatment

5 to 7 years.

within the lifespan of a healthy person

Benefits of treatment

absent.

therapy without work discontinuation, continuous improvement in the quality of life, relatively low-cost therapy

Treatment cost

EUR 70,000 to 350,000.

hugely less, compared to transplantation and life-long maintenance after surgery; depends on the necessary number of courses

How is liver cirrhosis treated in the REGENERATION Clinic?

Step 1

Appointment for the initial consultation by a hepatologist

Step 2

Consultation, diagnostics of the cirrhosis cause, determination of the liver cirrhosis stage

Step 3

After receiving the results of examination, a personal regimen is prescribed for the treatment of cirrhosis and, if necessary, treatment of concomitant diseases, e.g. alcohol dependence (detoxification is carried out), viral hepatits etc. Methods of cirrhosis treatment applied in the REHENERATSIIA Clinic allow not only to stop cirrhosis progression, but also to restore liver cells

Step 4

Regular monitoring of the treatment dynamics, if necessary, adjustment of the treatment regimen. Management of the patient until positive outcome

  • When detecting viral liver cirrhosis, it is important to determine as soon as possible the type of hepatitis virus that the patient is infected with, and begin treatment of viral hepatitis and cirrhosis. In case the treatment is not started, the life expectancy of the patient with viral liver cirrhosis can range from 1 month to 15 years depending on the degree of liver cirrhosis.
  • Thanks to the developments of biotechnologists in combination with European therapy methods, the REGENERATION Clinic provides a positive result of treatment of liver cirrhosis.
  • First, it is necessary to manage the cause of viral liver cirrhosis, which is hepatitis B, C, D, alcohol etc. Second, right after curing hepatitis, it is important to undergo the cirrhosis prevention. Third, it is necessary to keep a diet, that is, not to drink alcohol, exclude spicy, fried foods from the ration. Fourth, it is important to strictly comply with the prescription of a doctor, self-medication or discontinuation of the therapy prescribed by a doctor is prohibited. Fifth, it is necessary to take vitamins, fruits, maximally fortify the immune system. Sixth, remember about the emotional state; positive attitude, support of friends and relatives are important.
  • Depending on the stage of cirrhosis, as well as its cause, it is treated from six months to several years.
  • The price of treatment of cirrhosis depends on the stage of cirrhosis, as well as the virus presence/absence in the blood and the complexity of its treatment in each individual case.

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