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What is cirrhosis of the liver?

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Quick Answer

Cirrhosis is a complication of the liver that results from scarring of the liver due to injury and long-term diseases, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diseases that cause cirrhosis kill and injure liver cells, and the scar tissues form due to inflammation and repair of the dead liver cells, explains MedicineNet.com.

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Full Answer

Cirrhosis shrinks and hardens the liver, making it difficult for oxygen-rich blood to pass through it, states Healthline. Causes of cirrhosis include excessive consumption of alcohol, certain medications, chronic hepatitis and infections, reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Symptoms of cirrhosis include fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, jaundice and spider-shaped arteries underneath the skin, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Liver damage due to cirrhosis is not reversible, according to Mayo Clinic. With early diagnosis, doctors can treat the cause and prevent further damage to the liver.

Advanced cirrhosis is life-threatening, reports Mayo Clinic. It may lead to serious complications such as portal hypertension, fluid buildup in the legs, kidney failure and gallstones, states the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Cirrhosis may also cause an enlarged spleen, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer, according to Healthline.

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