Nearly 4 million adults have chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, a condition that becomes progressively worse without proper treatment of the underlying cause. Dr. Jeffrey Fenyves and Dr. Stephen Fry are experts in cirrhosis, providing patients with ongoing monitoring, advanced care, and proper treatment of complications. If you feel fatigued, have jaundice or a fluid buildup, please don’t wait to call one of their offices in Kingsport, Johnson City, and Elizabethton, Tennessee, or use online booking to schedule an appointment.
Cirrhosis Q & A
What is cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis describes scarring that occurs in your liver.
When your liver sustains any damage, it tries to heal itself. During the healing process, scar tissue forms.
Over time, cirrhosis develops when scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. As a result, blood flow in the liver is blocked, and the liver can’t function.
What causes cirrhosis?
Damage to your liver that leads to scarring arises from many different diseases and health conditions. The most common causes include:
Hepatitis B and C
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
What are the different types of NAFLD?
NAFLD develops when alcohol isn't responsible for the excess fat stored in your liver. Consuming too much alcohol also causes fat accumulation. When alcoholism is the source of the problem, it’s called alcoholic liver disease.
You’re more likely to develop NAFLD if you’re obese or you have Type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. There are two types of NAFLD:
Simple fatty liver
In this condition, you have excess fat in your liver but little to no inflammation or liver damage. Simple fatty liver, or nonalcoholic fatty liver, doesn’t usually progress to cause liver damage.
NASH is caused by hepatitis, or liver inflammation, which leads to liver damage and fat accumulation. NASH causes scarring that can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.
What symptoms are caused by cirrhosis?
You may not have symptoms of cirrhosis until your liver is damaged enough to cause problems; then you’ll experience:
Bruising and bleeding easily
Jaundice (yellow discoloration of your skin and eyes)
Ascites (fluid accumulation in your abdomen)
Loss of appetite or nausea
Edema (fluid buildup in legs, ankles or feet)
Spider angiomas (spider-like blood vessels on your skin)
What complications develop from cirrhosis?
As cirrhosis progresses, you may develop complications such as:
Scar tissue partially blocks blood flow through the portal vein, leading to edema and ascites, an enlarged spleen, and enlarged blood vessels, called esophageal varices or gastric varices.
When your liver doesn’t work correctly, it can’t remove toxins from your blood. Over time, the toxins accumulate in your brain, causing hepatic encephalopathy. That's a severe condition which leads to confusion, unconsciousness, and coma.
Contact Tri-Cities Gastroenterology or book an appointment online anytime you develop symptoms of cirrhosis.