Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver that happens because of chronic liver disease. Scar tissue blocks blood and bile flow through the liver and keeps it from working as it should.

As the largest internal organ in the body, the liver performs many vital tasks. For example, it gets rid of or neutralizes toxins, such as poisons, germs, and bacteria, in the blood and controls infection. The liver makes proteins that regulate blood clotting. It also produces bile that helps your body absorb the fats and fat-soluble vitamins it needs to stay healthy.

You cannot undo the damage from cirrhosis, but it progresses slowly. So early treatment can help prevent more damage. As liver function gets worse, you may experience fatigue, weight loss, swelling in your legs and abdomen, and jaundice. If the disease is severe enough, it can be fatal.

The most common causes of cirrhosis in the United States are:

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Review Date: 8/22/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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