Cirrhosis sufferer explains his previous relationship with alcohol
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Having cirrhosis means your liver has become scarred due to long-term damage. This scar tissue then prevents the liver working properly. If this happens it can cause liver failure, which is life threatening.
As with all medical conditions, the earlier you can spot symptoms the better chance you have of getting treated.
One symptom of cirrhosis which requires immediate medical attention is vomiting blood.
This is a sign that the cirrhosis has become worse.
The NHS says: “Vomiting blood (called haematemesis) needs to be checked. It often needs emergency treatment.
“Vomit can vary from bright red to brown or black.
“It may be like liquid or more solid, or look like coffee granules.”
Other later stage symptoms and complications of cirrhosis include:
- Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- Itchy skin
- Dark pee and tarry-looking poo
- Bleeding or bruising easily
- Swollen legs (oedema) or tummy (ascites) from a build-up of fluid
- Loss of sex drive (libido).
“You may not have any symptoms during the early stages of cirrhosis,” the NHS explains.
However, some earlier symptoms of cirrhosis can include:
- Feeling very tired and weak
- Feeling sick (nausea)
- Losing your appetite
- Losing weight and muscle mass
- Getting red patches on your palms and small, spider-like blood vessels on your skin (spider angiomas) above waist level.
The NHS advises seeing a GP if you suspect you have cirrhosis.
Since fatty liver disease is linked with the amount of fat in the liver, it is “usually” seen in people who are overweight or obese.
Others who are most at risk of fatty liver disease include those who:
- Have type 2 diabetes
- Have a condition that affects how your body uses insulin
- Are insulin resistance, such as polycystic ovary syndrome
- Have an underactive thyroid
- Have high blood pressure
- Have high cholesterol
- Have metabolic syndrome (a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity)
- Are over the age of 50
But the disease “has been diagnosed in people without any of these risk factors, including young children”, the NHS adds.
Although there is no cure for fatty liver disease of cirrhosis, a number of treatments are available to manage some of the symptoms and complications.
Doctors will also recommend a series of lifestyle changes to help.
These will include losing weight, eating healthier, exercising more and stopping smoking.
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