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Introduction to cirrhosis of the liver

Liver is an organ that has many essential functions in thebody, such as detoxifying harmful substances in thebody, purifying the blood and manufacturing vital nutrients. It is oneof the most important organs in the body.

Cirrhosis is a term that is used to describe scarring of theliver. In the case of mild cirrhosis, the liver can repair itself and continueto function, but, with the more severe forms, more and more scar tissue formsin it, making it impossible for the liver to function (the scar tissue cannotdo what the healthy liver cells are supposed to do). This scarring may becaused by some kind of injury to it, or by some long-term disease (such aschronic alcoholism, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, galactosemia, Wilson’s disease,etc).

This disease often causes no symptoms until it has advanced.The most common symptoms of liver cirrhosis are: nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite,swelling in the abdomen or in the legs, weight loss, easy bruising, nosebleeds,jaundice, etc. It is important that one consult a doctor as soon as the firstsymptoms have presented themselves. If the cause is some underlying condition,treating that condition will minimize the damage caused to the liver.

Life expectancy for cirrhosis

Being that the liver is one of the vital organs of the body,when there is any kind of irreparable or irreversible damage to the liver, thelife expectancy tends to reduce greatly. The life expectancy of a person withcirrhosis of the liver will be noticeably shorter than the average lifeexpectancy in general. However, how much shorter will it be depends onvarious factors, such as the person’s age, overall health, and the progress ofthe disease.

Some people tend to fall gravely sick within 5 years, and others tend toget well long before the estimated time. The average life expectancy for livercirrhosis usually is thought to be around ten years.

Still, the best determinant for a liver patient's mortality ismeasured with the Child-Pugh score. This calculatesthe patient’s standing when compared to other cirrhosis patients. It is alsoused to determinate the time that is left before a patient’s complete liverfailure.

Finally, one should bear in mind that everyone is different and thatevery body responds to the treatment in a different way. There have been casesof people miraculously recovering and living very long lives. It is importantto remember that positive thinking is one of the key ingredients of gettingwell.

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