How Is It Diagnosed?In order to make a cirrhosis diagnosis, your healthcare provider will ask a number of questions and perform a physical exam to look for signs and symptoms of the disease.
If your healthcare provider suspects cirrhosis, he or she will order certain tests to help confirm the diagnosis. Some of these tests may include:
- Blood tests
- Liver biopsy.
Other tests may be recommended to look for the specific cause.
(Click Diagnosing Cirrhosis for more information.)
Treatment for CirrhosisThe treatment for cirrhosis depends on the cause and the other problems a person is experiencing. Unfortunately, liver damage from cirrhosis cannot be reversed. However, treatment can stop or delay further progression and reduce complications.
In all cases, regardless of the cause, following a healthy diet (see Cirrhosis Diet) and avoiding alcohol are essential, because the body needs all the nutrients it can get, and alcohol will only lead to more liver damage. Light physical activity can also help stop or delay the disease.
No matter what the cause of cirrhosis is, when too much of the liver is permanently damaged, waste and poisons can no longer be filtered, nutrients can't be processed, and fuel cannot be stored. If this happens, a liver transplant is the best way to treat it.
(Click Cirrhosis Treatment for more information.)
Complications Seen With CirrhosisThere can be many negative effects as a result of cirrhosis. These complications may include:
- Edema (swelling of the lower legs) and ascites (fluid buildup in the abdomen)
- Bruising and bleeding
- Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis
- Toxins in the blood or brain
- Sensitivity to medication
- High blood pressure within the liver (portal hypertension)
- Bleeding in the stomach and esophagus (known as varices)
- Liver cancer
- Impotence (erectile dysfunction or ED)
(Click Cirrhosis Complications for more information.)