This is the final stage of a number of diseases of the liver, when scar tissue replaces the normal cells in the liver. The liverís ability to deal with drugs and toxins is affected and also its digestive functions are impaired. Some of the causes of cirrhosis include excessive alcohol intake, autoimmune hepatitis, exposure to toxins, a reaction to pharmaceuticals, and various liver diseases. If the damage is not too great, the liver can regenerate itself.
Jaundice; Itching; Fatigue; Weight loss; Susceptibility to bruising; Fever; Vomiting Abdominal Pain; Blood stained or black stools.
Chronic viral hepatitis B and C may respond to treatment with interferon and autoimmune hepatitis may improve with prednisone and azathioprine (Imuran). Drugs such as ursodiol (Actigall) may slow the progression of primary biliary cirrhosis and possibly sclerosing cholangitis.
Cirrhosis of the liver can also cause abnormalities in other organ systems. Cirrhosis can lead to immune system dysfunction causing an increased risk of infection. Cirrhosis can also lead to kidney dysfunction and failure.
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