Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver caused by continuous long-term liver damage. Scar tissue replaceshealthy tissue in the liver and prevents the liver working properly.
The damage caused by cirrhosis can't be reversed and can eventually become so extensive that your liver stops functioning. This is called liver failure.
Cirrhosis can be fatal if the liver fails. However, it usuallytakesyears forthe conditionto reach this stage and treatment can help slow its progression.
Each year around 4,000 people in the UK die from cirrhosis, and 700 people with the condition need a Liver transplant to survive.
There are usually few symptoms in the early stages of cirrhosis. However, as your liver loses its ability to function properly, you're likely to experience a loss of appetite, nausea anditchy skin.
Symptoms in the later stages can include jaundice , vomiting blood, dark, tarry-looking stools, and a build-up of fluid in the legs (oedema) and abdomen (ascites).
It's likely it will overtake alcohol and hepatitis C as the most common cause of cirrhosis.
Less common causes of cirrhosis include hepatitis B infection and inherited liver diseases, such as haemochromatosis .
In this case, a Liver transplant is the only treatment option.
Using a condom during sex and not injecting drugs will reduce your risk of developing hepatitis B and C.
A vaccine forhepatitis B is available, but there's currently no vaccine for hepatitis C.
Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver as a result of long-term liver damage. Find out what the signs and symptoms are, when to see your GP, and how it can be treated and prevented.
There are usually very few symptoms during the early stages of cirrhosis. As the condition progresses, symptoms can include tiredness, loss of appetite and very itchy skin.
There are many different causes of cirrhosis. In the UK, the most common causes are drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and long-term hepatitis C infections.
Find out about the tests used to measure liver function and liver damage and how cirrhosis is diagnosed.
Read more about how the symptoms of cirrhosis can be managed using medication and lifestyle changes. Also, find out how the complications of cirrhosis can be treated.
Find out how to reduce your chances of developing cirrhosis by limiting your alcohol consumption and protecting yourself from a hepatitis infection.