Clinical features

The liver has a large functional reserve capacity, so there may be extensive damage that remains clinically undetected, and people with cirrhosis may be totally asymptomatic or complain only of vague ill health and tiredness.

Eventually, however, as liver damage continues, or when an additional strain is placed on the liver, it fails to compensate and liver failure becomes apparent.

The effects of chronic liver disease and portal hypertension include weight loss, loss of body hair, loss of libido, testicular atrophy, jaundice, abnormal coagulation, fluid retention in the form of ankle swelling and ascites, and chronic hepatic encephalopathy. Hepatic encephalopathy can cause mood and sleep disturbances, a characteristic flapping tremor of the hands and reduced ability to perform simple mechanical tasks, such as joining dots on a page (constructional apraxia). Hormonal and vascular changes induce the formation of cutaneous spider naevi, which are arteriolar vascular malformations.

Cirrhosis may be complicated by catastrophic events, such as variceal haemorrhage, development of hepatocellular carcinoma and development of ascites and infection. Patients with ascites are at risk of developing spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP), caused by translocation of gram-negative bacteria from the intestinal lumen into the protein-rich ascitic fluid. This complication carries a high mortality and occurs particularly when liver disease is far advanced.

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Get Rid of Gallstones Naturally

Get Rid of Gallstones Naturally

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