Cirrhosis of the liver is a condition in which the tissue of the liver gradually worsens. Non-functional scar tissue, as a consequence of chronic damage, will take the place of functional liver tissue. Depending on the degree of damage, we can describe how cirrhosis develops in four distinct stages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30,000 deaths are caused by the advanced-stage liver disease in the United States every year.
At the first stage of cirrhosis, there typically occur inflammation, distinguished by swelling, the presence of inflammatory-promoting immune cells, and some damaged liver tissue. Besides, some unusual connective tissue can also grow. These two elements, inflammation and unusual growth of connective tissue, are confined to the liver’s portal area. The portal area is the area which encircles the big hepatic artery, vein and bile duct. Here will the blood and fluid run into and out of the liver.
At the second stage of cirrhosis, inflammation is also one of the typical characteristics, but fibrosis is starting to happen, as a substitution of healthy liver tissue for scar tissue. At this stage, symptoms do not exist due to the remaining normal liver tissue’s capability of compensating for the non-functional scar tissue which is beginning to form. Nevertheless, the replacement of normal liver tissue with scar tissue is an eternal transformation because scar tissue cannot turn into normal functioning liver tissue.
When cirrhosis makes progression, the destruction of the liver becomes much more serious. During the third stage of cirrhosis, the fibrosis develops into “bridges” and is called bridging fibrosis. Because of these bridges, unusual connections between the hepatic artery, vein, and several vessels will develop, which leads to abnormal flow of blood and causes a rise in blood pressure within the liver. Blood pressure is raised and is called hepatic hypertension. This condition will be able to result in additional liver damage.
Stage four is known as the most advanced stage, and plus, the development of scar tissue has made progression to the point that it is functioning abnormally. While the last stages are not typically linked to symptoms, there arouses a lot of symptoms during the advanced-stage cirrhosis. These symptoms include:
- Bleeding in the digestive tract
- Yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
- Mental effects: abnormal sleepiness, build-up of fluid within your body, confusion, slurring of speech
- Severe skin itching that cannot be explained.
The liver is an organ that is indeed of vital importance to our body. This vital organ conducted a great number of functions in the body without which one cannot survive. With the help of appropriate functioning of the liver, the body systems can work in the optimally healthy state. For this reason, taking care of liver is really important beyond measure in order to prevent serious damages.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: July 18, 2017 | Last Modified: July 18, 2017
What are the 4 stages of cirrhosis? https://medlicker.com/934-four-stages-of-cirrhosis. Accessed July 18, 2017
What Are the 4 Stages of Cirrhosis? http://www.livestrong.com/article/240024-what-are-the-4-stages-of-cirrhosis/. Accessed July 18, 2017