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Liver Fibrosis

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Fibrosis means accumulation excess fibrous connective tissue in an organ.

Liver fibrosis is a chronic liver disease characterized by deposition of excess extracellular matrix protein and collagen in the liver. This subsequently leads to scarring of the liver. With progressive inflammation of liver tissues, the metabolic function of liver is seriously disrupted.


What causes liver fibrosis?

Liver fibrosis is a secondary problem. The process of fibrosis can occur from chronic liver diseases caused by: 

  • Infection of hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus
  •  Liver damage from toxin and overdose of alcohol (alcoholic cirrhosis)
  •  Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  •  Trauma to the liver 
When the liver cells or the hepatocytes are damaged due to the aforementioned factors then your body’s immune system starts releasing TGF (Transforming Growth Factor) beta proteins. They stimulate the fibroblasts to deposit the connective tissues over the liver. This process of repair ultimately scars the liver.


Who are at risks of developing liver fibrosis?

Liver cirrhosis is more common in men than in women and especially men above 50. Victims of alcohol abuse are most likely to suffer from fibrosis. Furthermore, people with insulin resistance, fatty liver disease and compromised immune system are at risk.

What are the symptoms of liver fibrosis?

The initial stage of liver fibrosis is completely asymptomatic. The person continues with normal life without realizing that he has fibrosis. But eventually he may fall ill or get jaundice.


What are the complications of liver fibrosis?

If the fibrosis has progressed to the advanced stage then it can lead to cirrhosis, portal hypertension, liver failure and even liver cancer.


Diagnosis of liver fibrosis

First of all your doctor will check your medical history and your lifestyle, especially pertaining to alcohol consumption. He or she will be physically examining your liver by touching it. If you have developed fibrosis, then your liver would become very hard. Ultrasound would be advised followed by liver biopsy.


Stages of liver fibrosis

Since liver fibrosis is a progressive disease, it has been divided in to 4 stages. Your biopsy report would possibly be able to confirm in which stage the fibrosis is. The stages are: 

  • Stage 0- fibrosis cannot be found or absence of fibrosis 
  • Stage 1- enlargement of the portal areas; 
  • Stage 2- fibrosis spreads out from the portal areas to other tissues
  • Stage 3- fibrosis bridges starts connecting portal and central are of the liver 
  • Stage 4- cirrhosis of liver occurs


Treatment of liver fibrosis

Liver fibrosis is reversible one the underlying cause has been determined and is being treated properly. If it has been caused due to hepatitis infection then your doctor would primarily work towards curing the infection. Change in diet and lifestyle would be recommended to improve the function of your liver. If your liver had been damaged completely then a transplant is the only option.


Lifestyle changes for managing liver fibrosis

  • Stop consuming alcohol. It’s a NO for you
  • Eat healthy- home cooked simple foods, avoid meat and sea foods
  • Cut down on sodium, saturated fats, sugars and cholesterol rich foods
  • Get enough rest to allow your body to recuperate
  • Take your medicines as advised by your doctor 

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: may 31, 2014