Fibrosis of the Liver: 11 Signs and Symptoms of Liver Fibrosis
Looking for signs and symptoms of liver fibrosis? Liver fibrosis is when the liver’s healthy tissue is damaged and cannot function properly. Tissue injured by fibrosis blocks blood flow inside the liver. This kills healthy liver cells and damages tissues. Fibrosis is the first stage of liver damage; when the liver becomes more damaged, it is called liver cirrhosis, a severe liver disease. In this, a liver transplant has to be done. Some animal studies suggest the liver’s ability to heal itself, whereas, in humans, it usually does not heal once the liver is damaged.
However, fibrosis can be prevented from progressing to cirrhosis by taking medications and lifestyle changes. Let’s talk about some warning signs and symptoms of liver fibrosis.
In This Article
- What is Fibrosis of the Liver
- Stages of Liver Fibrosis
- Liver Fibrosis score
- Signs and Symptoms of Liver Fibrosis
- What Causes Liver Fibrosis
- Liver Fibrosis Prevention
- Liver Fibrosis Treatment
- What is Portal Fibrosis
What is Fibrosis of the Liver
Fibrosis of the liver is a condition in which the liver becomes enlarged and scarred due to the accumulation of scar tissue. This can lead to various problems, including difficulty in digesting food, anemia, and cirrhosis.
Treatment options may include surgery, medication, and lifestyle changes. Some people may also require a liver transplant.
Stages of Liver Fibrosis
There are different stages of liver fibrosis. The doctor defines the stages of liver fibrosis based on liver damage. Its stage depends on the person. One’s liver can be more damaged than another’s liver. However, doctors determine the stage for liver fibrosis because it allows patients and other doctors to understand how affected the liver.
Liver Fibrosis score
The most commonly used score system for liver fibrosis is the METAVIR scoring system. A record is given for the action “Activity” in this process. It is estimated that fibrosis is increasing. The doctor designates the score only after a liver biopsy or tissue sample.
Activity grades differ from A0 to A3.
A0– no activity
A1– mild activity
A2– Moderate activity
A3– severe activity
Stage F0-F4 of Fibrosis
F0– No fibrosis
F1– Portal fibrosis
F2 – Portal fibrosis with current septa
F3– Multiple septa with cirrhosis (numerous septa with cirrhosis)
A3, F4 METAVIR score is considered a sign and symptom of liver fibrosis. The other scoring systems are Bats and Ludwig, in which a grade from 1 to 4 is given for fibrosis. The International Association for the Research of the Liver (IASL) also provides scores in four areas, ranging from minimal chronic hepatitis to severe chronic hepatitis. Now, let’s dive into the signs and symptoms of liver fibrosis.
Signs and Symptoms of Liver Fibrosis
Doctors cannot diagnose liver fibrosis at its mild to moderate stage because symptoms of liver fibrosis are not visible until liver damage occurs. When the liver disease starts, the following fibrosis of the liver symptoms are seen.
Here are some common liver fibrosis symptoms–
Jaundice is a situation in which the skin and sclera change into yellow. The skin grabs this color due to an elevated level of bilirubin, a yellow-orange bile pigment emitted by the liver. When the liver is damaged, it declines to regulate the amount of bile in the body, heading to this health condition.
People who are suffering from liver fibrosis feel exhausted all the time. By the way, fatigue can be the reason for many other diseases, so do not point out this disease only by keeping this symptom in mind.
3. Loss of Appetite
In this situation, the sufferer also has the issue of noise, swelling, and burning in the legs below the knee.
4. Weight loss
Losing weight suddenly without dieting and exercising can be a purpose for concern. It is frequently the early signs and symptoms of liver fibrosis and should not be disregarded. If you notice a drop in your body weight, you need to consult your doctor.
5. Nausea and Vomiting
If the fibrosis influences hormones and enzymes affecting digestion, you may feel unhealthy to your stomach. Some liver fibrosis boosts the amount of acid in your stomach.
Patients with liver fibrosis may experience high fever and pain in the body.
7. Abdominal Pain
It is commonly referred to as abdominal swelling and easily mistaken with abdominal fullness or bloating. It is generally linked with discomfort and even pain.
Abdominal pain may be relatively minor, moderate, or severe. In extremely severe situations, the patient may even have dyspnea (difficulty breathing) because the abdominal pressure pulls away the diaphragm and the lungs, preventing them from expanding properly.
8. Feeling of Weakness
If a person feels very weak and cannot do any work for a long time, he should get it checked because the liver may cause fibrosis.
9. Difficulty in Breathing
When a person’s liver does not work properly, it also affects other body parts. Because of this, he starts having difficulty breathing, and he needs medical help.
10. Itchy Skin
There is constant itching on the skin of victims suffering from liver fibrosis.
11. Swollen Abdomen, Legs, Ankles, and Feet
Swelling of legs and arms also happens due to decreased output of a protein called albumin. This protein maintains the blood from emitting the blood vessels into the surrounding tissues. When there are limited protein fluids, start collecting in the blood vessels.
According to research, 6-7 percent of people worldwide are victims of fibrosis, but they do not know because its symptoms are not visible in the early stages.
What Causes Liver Fibrosis
Liver fibrosis occurs when a person has an injury or inflammation of the liver. During this, liver cells are stimulated to heal the wound.
During healing, proteins such as collagen and glycoproteins build up in the liver. After many repairs, liver cells cannot repair, which causes fibrosis.
Several types of liver diseases cause fibrosis, including:
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Iron overload
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease includes nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
- Viral hepatitis B and C
- Alcoholic liver disease
The most common cause of liver fibrosis is a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The second most common cause is an alcoholic liver disease caused by long-term use of alcohol.
Liver Fibrosis Prevention
If you see the symptoms of liver cirrhosis, contact your doctor and get immediate treatment. Also, you need to take special care of these things.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol.
- Avoid eating junk food.
- Control the increasing weight.
- Drink very little tea.
- Do exercise and yoga daily.
- Stay away from smoking and tobacco.
- Use less sugar.
- Take a balanced diet daily.
Liver Fibrosis Treatment
Treatment for liver fibrosis depends on the signs and symptoms of the liver fibrosis. The doctor will treat the underlying disease, providing relief in liver fibrosis. For example, if a person consumes high amounts of alcohol, the doctor may recommend quitting alcohol to support the treatment program.
If the patient has non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the doctor may also suggest a change in diet to reduce weight. Along with this, medication and exercise can also be prescribed to control blood sugar. If you are losing weight, it will slow the succession of the disease. Along with this, the doctor may give antifibrotics. It reduces liver scarring.
Currently, scientists are working in this direction to come up with treatments that can reverse liver fibrosis. However, in recent times, if a person has reached a severe condition of liver fibrosis, he is left with no other option but a liver transplant.
What is Portal Fibrosis
Portal fibrosis is a rare but severe complication of liver cirrhosis caused by recurring inflammation and fibrosis of the portal vein, which carries blood from the liver to other body parts.
Portal fibrosis can cause several problems, including ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen), varices (tiny tears in the vein walls that allow blood to escape), and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes due to excess bilirubin). These complications can lead to death if not treated promptly.
Be sure to read: Symptoms of Liver Cysts and Pain
Let us tell you that liver cirrhosis has become the most significant cause of death globally. That is why liver fibrosis must be treated in time because it later turns into liver cirrhosis. Not knowing about liver fibrosis’s initial signs and symptoms is also its most considerable risk.
I hope you liked this article and got important information related to liver fibrosis’s warning signs and symptoms. Please consult an expert for more details. Share this article to make your loved ones aware of this information.
- Symptoms & Causes of Cirrhosis– https://www.niddk.nih.gov/
- Reversal of hepatic fibrosis-Fact or fantasy– onlinelibrary.wiley.com
- Liver Fibrosis: Mechanistic Concepts and Therapeutic Perspectives– https://www.mdpi.com/