Liver Cirrhosis in Denver, CO
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What is liver cirrhosis?
The liver is an organ that performs an array of critical functions necessary for health, such as filtering harmful toxins from the blood and metabolizing fat. Liver cirrhosis, additionally called hepatic cirrhosis, is a health condition that arises when the liver becomes inflamed and scarred from issues like late-stage liver disease and alcoholism. As more and more scar tissue develops, the ability of the liver to function properly continually diminishes. The different grades of severity involving liver cirrhosis are classified into four stages.
Stage 1: Some scarring of liver tissue is present, but there are not many symptoms and no complications have developed.
Stage 2: Further symptoms present, such as swollen and enlarged veins and hypertension involving the portal vein in the liver (known as portal hypertension).
Stage 3: Symptoms include abdominal swelling and advanced scarring of liver tissue, accompanied by serious complications and possibly liver failure.
Stage 4: At this stage, the condition can be deadly in the absence of a liver transplant.
At Colorado Gastroenterology, our skilled team can diagnose, treat, and help patients manage liver problems. To find care for liver cirrhosis in Denver, CO, please request a consultation at a location near you today.
What are the causes of liver cirrhosis?
Several factors can damage the liver and lead to the development of cirrhosis. Some of these factors can involve:
- Genetic digestive disorders
- Bile duct damage
- Viral liver infections (hepatitis B & C)
- Iron accumulation in the body
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Certain medications
- Cystic fibrosis
- Excessive body fat
- Liver disease caused by autoimmune hepatitis
- Chronic alcoholism
- Sugar metabolism disorders
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Wilson’s disease
- Abnormal formation of bile ducts
If you develop issues with your liver and need care, partner with the gastroenterology providers at Colorado Gastroenterology. Our knowledge and expertise can guide you toward the appropriate options for individualized treatment.
What are the signs and symptoms of liver cirrhosis?
The first stages of liver cirrhosis may not show any symptoms. The first signs that you may notice include tiredness, physical weakness, and decreased appetite. If the liver cirrhosis continues to advance, some of the signs and symptoms can include:
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Muscle cramps
- Veins that are spider web-like in appearance
- Swollen legs
- Bruise or bleed easily
- Jaundice yellowing of the eyes/skin
- Nausea or queasiness
- Red palms
- Blood in the stool
- Brown-tinted urine
- Swelling in the abdomen
Please discuss any symptoms you may be having with your Colorado Gastroenterology provider to discuss the best treatment options for your health care needs.
How is liver cirrhosis treated?
Damage and scarring to the liver cannot be undone, but it can often still function and bounce back even if two-thirds has been damaged or removed. Below are some of the treatments our Colorado Gastroenterology team may recommend to help increase the liver's ability to function:
- Prevention of additional liver damage
- Antiviral medications for hepatitis B and C
- Avoiding certain medications (naproxen, ibuprofen, etc.)
- Immunization for hepatitis A and B
- Undergo a liver transplant
- Managing the particular issues surrounding your cirrhosis
Are there any complications of liver cirrhosis?
The liver plays an essential role in the body, and any amount of injury or damage to the liver will negatively affect its ability to function normally. Some of the possible health conditions related to cirrhosis of the liver involve:
- Bacterial peritonitis (inflammation of the abdomen wall)
- Hepatic encephalopathy (an accumulation of toxins in the bloodstream leading to brain damage)
- Liver cancer
- Hypersplenism (overactive splenic function)
To discuss what you should do to best treat your liver cirrhosis in Denver, CO, request a consultation today with a local provider.
Liver Cirrhosis FAQs
What tests are used to diagnose liver cirrhosis?
Our Denver, CO team may utilize various testing options to confirm the presence of liver cirrhosis. These may include a physical exam, blood tests, and imaging tests like CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasound. A liver biopsy might be recommended in some individuals, where a small amount of liver tissue is excised for pathology testing.
Can cirrhosis of the liver be reversed?
Although the damage to the liver resulting from cirrhosis typically is irreversible, the disease may be controlled with proper care. Treatment is designed to slow the advancement of scarring in the liver and to hinder or address the complications of the condition. Should cirrhosis reach the advanced stages, a liver transplant could be recommended.
Is cirrhosis of the liver hereditary?
In most instances, cirrhosis is not inherited. However, some hereditary diseases and conditions can increase the risk of developing liver cirrhosis. It is imperative to maintain a healthy lifestyle, undergo regular medical check-ups, and address any concerns with a medical provider, such as those at Colorado Gastroenterology.
How quickly does liver cirrhosis usually progress?
The speed at which cirrhosis of the liver advances varies widely. It is dependent on the root cause of the disease, general health, lifestyle habits, and the degree to which the person responds to medical care. In certain instances, cirrhosis may develop over a number of years or even decades without causing any signs or symptoms. In others, the condition can advance rapidly.
Receive care for liver health
Liver cirrhosis can impact your health and life in numerous ways. At Colorado Gastroenterology, we strive to help you discover a life in which additional damage to the liver can be avoided. To find treatment for liver cirrhosis in Denver, CO, request a consultation with one of our skilled providers as soon as possible.
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Dr. Rufner is Amazing. he explains everything, I never feel rushed, He answers every questions and he will even draw pictures for you :) he is a nice warm person who will make you feel comfortable right away. I have been going to see him for a few years and this has never changed.
Dr Rufner listened carefully to my medical issue, asked me relevant questions and provided me clear explanations of my likely condition. Dr Rufner provided his plan to help me. I left his office with confidence that I am in very good hands with a knowledgeable and caring doctor.