Liver Cirrhosis





Cirrhosis is a condition that results from the complications of different liver diseases which causes the liver to undertake an abnormal structure and function. This happens because the diseases that bring about liver cirrhosis injure or destroy healthy liver cells, then forming scar tissue in an attempt to repair the damage.

Liver damage that occurs in cirrhosis is irreversible. Nevertheless, if liver cirrhosis is detected in its early stages, further damage can be averted. The advancement of the disease creates scar tissues that limit the function of the liver, thus it is no longer able to effectively detoxify the blood, and toxins can build up in the body.

Liver cirrhosis has been ranked as the 11th leading cause of death in the United States, especially with people over the age of 65, as it answers for more than 30,000 deaths annually. The annual incidence rate of this condition is set at approximately 360 cases per 100,000 people.



The most common causes of liver cirrhosis are chronic alcohol abuse and long-term hepatitis C. However, any condition that can potentially damage the liver can also initiate the occurrence of cirrhosis. Among them are:

  • Fatty liver potentiated by obesity or diabetes;
  • Chronic infections of the liver (hepatitis B-D);
  • Blockage of the biliary duct; and
  • Diseases that are caused by abnormal liver functions.

The liver is normally able to regenerate parts of it that are damaged. Cirrhosis results when the causative agents that damage the liver wreak havoc over an extended time period. When this occurs, the liver becomes highly damaged and scarred. The scarring brought about by the cirrhosis causes the liver to become hard and smaller in size. This then makes it hard for blood to flow through the liver for detoxification.


Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms exhibited by individuals who have cirrhosis of the liver include the following:

  • Unexpected changes in weight (either loss or gain);
  • Lessened appetite for food (anorexia);
  • General body weakness and easy fatigability;
  • Difficulty in thinking clearly and/or mental confusion;
  • Ascites (prominent swelling of the abdominal area);
  • Water retention and swelling in the lower extremities (edema);
  • Yellow discoloration (jaundice) of the skin due to excessive amount of bilirubin in the blood; and
  • Enlargement of the liver (hepatomegaly) or spleen (splenomegaly).

Complications can ensue if the condition is left untreated or is managed incorrectly. Complications from cirrhosis include bleeding, sensitivity or rejection of certain medications, kidney failure, insulin resistance or diabetes, liver cancer, hepatic encephalopathy, esophageal varices, and gallbladder problems among others.



The treatment for cirrhosis will vary upon its causative agent. For cases that are caused by chronic alcohol use, the affected individual must give up the consumption of alcoholic beverages in order to cease the development of the disease. For those patients who have hepatitis, antiviral drugs and/or steroids may be prescribed to limit the injury and damage to liver cells. And for those cases that are caused by other conditions, especially the autoimmune diseases, the treatment will be streamlined to the underlying reason.

Other symptoms may be treated as they come up in the course of the progress of the disease. Severe cirrhosis may eventually call for a liver transplant if the condition gets too serious to be managed pharmacologically.


Disability Tax Credits for Liver Cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis direly limits the capability of a person to perform activities of daily living as mental functioning can also be affected. Being diagnosed with this condition need not necessarily bring you down physically, mentally, or even financially. If you think you could use a cut in your taxes, you can try your hand at applying for a disability tax refund. The first thing that you have to do is to secure a duly completed disability tax certificate signed by qualified health care personnel. To get you underway with this task, you can call on the HandyTax hotline so a representative can walk you through the process.