Cirrhosis and Chronic Liver Failure

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Cirrhosis has many causes. In the United States, the most common causes are chronic alcoholism and hepatitis. Dr. Edward Hill discusses this condition in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Cirrhosis is a disease of the liver. Normally, your liver does many things. It helps your body digest fat and break down cholesterol, gets rid of poisons like alcohol and drugs, and stores energy. It also helps your body form blood clots and scabs if you are hurt. If you have cirrhosis, your liver cannot do these things well.

Many things can cause cirrhosis. The most common causes are drinking too much alcohol and having hepatitis B or C infection. Some people get it from overexposure to poisonous chemicals or too much iron or copper in their liver.

If you have cirrhosis, you may feel less hungry than usual. You may feel sick and dizzy, have stomach pain, vomit or lose weight. Symptoms may also include swelling in the abdomen, jaundice and itchy skin. Cirrhosis also can affect your brain. Many people dont have any symptoms.

Treatment depends on the cause. If you have had the disease for a long time, you may need a liver transplant.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.