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Diseases » Cirrhosis of the liver » Complications
 

Complications of Cirrhosis of the liver

Complications list for Cirrhosis of the liver:

The list of complications that have been mentioned in various sources for Cirrhosis of the liver includes:

See also the symptoms of Cirrhosis of the liver and Cirrhosis of the liver: Introduction.

Complications of Cirrhosis of the liver:

Loss of liver function affects the body in many ways. Following are common problems, or complications, caused by cirrhosis.

Edema and ascites. When the liver loses its ability to make the protein albumin, water accumulates in the leg (edema) and abdomen (ascites).

Bruising and bleeding. When the liver slows or stops production of the proteins needed for blood clotting, a person will bruise or bleed easily.

Jaundice. Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes that occurs when the diseased liver does not absorb enough bilirubin.

Itching. Bile products deposited in the skin may cause intense itching.

Gallstones. If cirrhosis prevents bile from reaching the gallbladder, a person may develop gallstones.

Toxins in the blood or brain. A damaged liver cannot remove toxins from the blood, causing them to accumulate in the blood and eventually the brain. There, toxins can dull mental functioning and cause personality changes, coma, and even death. Signs of the buildup of toxins in the brain include neglect of personal appearance, unresponsiveness, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, or changes in sleep habits.

Sensitivity to medication. Cirrhosis slows the liver's ability to filter medications from the blood. Because the liver does not remove drugs from the blood at the usual rate, they act longer than expected and build up in the body. This causes a person to be more sensitive to medications and their side effects.

Portal hypertension. Normally, blood from the intestines and spleen is carried to the liver through the portal vein. But cirrhosis slows the normal flow of blood through the portal vein, which increases the pressure inside it. This condition is called portal hypertension.

Varices. When blood flow through the portal vein slows, blood from the intestines and spleen backs up into blood vessels in the stomach and esophagus. These blood vessels may become enlarged because they are not meant to carry this much blood. The enlarged blood vessels, called varices, have thin walls and carry high pressure, and thus are more likely to burst. If they do burst, the result is a serious bleeding problem in the upper stomach or esophagus that requires immediate medical attention.

Problems in other organs. Cirrhosis can cause immune system dysfunction, leading to infection. Ascites (fluid) in the abdomen may become infected with bacteria normally present in the intestines, and cirrhosis can also lead to kidney dysfunction and failure. (Source: excerpt from Cirrhosis of the Liver: NIDDK)

Medical news summaries about complications of Cirrhosis of the liver:

The following medical news items are relevant to complications of Cirrhosis of the liver:

You may also want to research other symptoms in our Symptoms Center.

About complications:

Complications of Cirrhosis of the liver are secondary conditions, symptoms, or other disorders that are caused by Cirrhosis of the liver. In many cases the distinction between symptoms of Cirrhosis of the liver and complications of Cirrhosis of the liver is unclear or arbitrary.

 

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