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How to diagnose cirrhosis and when to seek medical attention?

Cirrhosis is a chronic (ongoing, long-term) disease of the liver. It means damage to the normal liver tissue.
– This tissue is the reason that keeps this important organ from working as it should.
– The liver gradually loses its ability to carry out its normal functions.
– This is called liver failure, which is also referred to as end-stage liver disease.
– The liver is the largest organ in the body and one of the most essential.

Causes of Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis can be caused by a number of conditions and sometimes there is no cause found too. This includes:
– Long-standing inflammation
– Poisons
– Infections
– Heart disease
– Chronic alcoholism
– Chronic hepatitis

When to seek medical attention?
– Sudden weight gain with increased size of your abdomen
– Increasing water retention
– Jaundice
– Changes in your mental faculties or behavior
– New or different responses to medications
– Bleeding that takes longer than usual to stop
– Blood in your vomit or stool
– Difficulty breathing
– Abdominal pain
– Confusion or bizarre behavior
– Repeated vomiting
– Fever

Exams and Tests
– Medical history
– Current symptoms
– Physical exam findings
– Has abused alcohol or IV drugs in the past or still do so.
– Known hepatitis
– Unexplained bleeding
– Jaundice
– Ascites (fluid building up in your abdomen)
– The condition may not be diagnosed until complications develop.

The steps in making the diagnosis of cirrhosis may include the following:

– Blood tests
To check whether the liver is functioning normally.
– Ultrasound
– CT scan
– Radioisotope scan
To look for signs of cirrhosis within or on the surface of the liver.

– Laparoscope
A very tiny camera inserted through a small slit in the abdomen to view the liver directly.
– Liver biopsy
Removing tissue from the liver and studying it under a microscope to identify fibrosis and scarring.

– Biopsy is the only way diagnosis can be 100% certain.

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