Cirrhosis: From Detection to Death Timeline


Cirrhosis death timeline is something that is a cause for concern. This condition reduces life expectancy drastically. There are many possible causes of liver damage. But they all have a similar progression regardless of the specific type of liver damage. If liver damage is caused by a virus, it will eventually cause cirrhosis, except you properly treat it. If a long-term injury to your liver occurs as a result of chemicals, it will eventually cause cirrhosis too. Sometimes, it is your body’s immune system that is damaging your liver. The danger remains the same – it will eventually cause cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can damage your liver so badly that it would no longer function properly and can no longer keep you living.

Cirrhosis can eventually cause liver failure. It can also increase your risk of liver cancer. These conditions are very serious and they are life-threatening. These are more likely to happen when cirrhosis reaches its end-stage. At that stage, life expectancy is more or less one to 2 years. More so, there are but limited options for cirrhosis, talk less of when it’s in the end-stage. It is, therefore, very important to begin treating liver disease very early. You should treat liver damage when it is still simple inflammation or even at the stage of fibrosis. Those are reversible. If you can treat liver damage at these early stages, you have higher chances of getting your liver back in shape and surviving.

An Overview of Cirrhosis Causes

Certain substances or diseases can attack and damage your liver. This kills your liver cells and leads to the formation of scar tissues. Fibrosis is the medical term for the formation of these scar tissues. This scarring does not happen all of a sudden. It happens gradually and slowly.

By the time the whole of your liver gets scarred, it begins to shrink because scar tissues cause it to contract. This contraction also makes your liver hard. At this stage, what you have is cirrhosis. Fibrosis can still be undine, but cirrhosis cannot.

Any illness or condition that affects your liver in the long-term can cause fibrosis. And if fibrosis occurs, it can eventually cause cirrhosis if care is not taken. Some of the common causes of fibrosis include viruses, heavy drinking, fat buildup, inherited diseases, autoimmune diseases, and drug toxic effects.

In the U.S, however, heavy drinking is the leading cause of cirrhosis. Next to that would be hepatitis C (chronic). Obesity is another common cause that is on the uprise. It can either act alone or combine with other factors, such as hepatitis C, alcohol, or even both.

Anyway, short-term liver damage cannot cause cirrhosis. SO if there is acute trauma to your liver, you are not at risk. The cause of liver cirrhosis is usually chronic or long-term damage. This takes quite some years.

Cirrhosis Death Timeline

The timeline of how cirrhosis causes death starts from simple inflammation. This is the earliest stage of liver disease, regardless of the cause. Aside from being inflamed, your liver may also become enlarged and tender.

Inflammation is a sign that your body’s immune system is healing up an injury or combating an infection. This is usually good and very helpful. But then, if inflammation continues and becomes chronic, it may begin to cause some liver damage.

But then, liver inflammation may not cause any discomfort. You may not feel it when inflammation affects only a little portion of your liver. But when it spreads to cover most parts, you would feel it. The skin area around your liver would become quite painful and hot.

This is the best stage to treat liver disease. You can easily reverse inflammation. But if you don’t, it progresses to the next stage in the death timeline – fibrosis.

If you don’t treat inflammation, your inflamed liver would begin to scar. As more scar tissues grow, they begin to take the place of normal liver tissue. This is the process we call fibrosis. The problem with scar tissue is that it can’t function like healthy tissue.

More so, scar tissue may prevent blood flow to your liver. You see that the case is getting more serious and complicated already. As the scar tissue increases, your liver would begin to lose some of its functionalities.

But then, something interesting happens at this point. The healthy portions that remain in your liver would try to make up for the dysfunctional scarred portions. So these healthy parts will overwork themselves and, as such, damage the process.

Anyways, if you begin treatment at this stage, your liver still has the chance to heal up over time. But if you don’t, it will progress to become cirrhosis. That is the next stage in the timeline.

Cirrhosis refers to when hard scar tissues have replaced almost all the soft healthy tissues in your liver. The more cirrhosis worsens, the more dysfunctional your liver will become. And if you don’t treat cirrhosis on time, your liver will eventually fail and that is almost certain to cause death.

How Cirrhosis Causes Death

Cirrhosis can cause various lethal complications. These include liver cancer and liver failure. Sadly, some people will never realize they have the liver disease until it reaches the stage of cirrhosis.

When you have cirrhosis, you may bruise or bleed easily. There may also be a backing up of water in your belly and/or legs. Jaundice is another possible complication. And you may experience severe skin itching. Blood may also pool up in your portal veins (veins in your liver) and cause them to burst.

By the time cirrhosis reaches its end-stage, decompensation has progressed seriously and the damage has become irreversible. At this point, death is imminent. The only way to avoid death is to have a liver transplant.

You may wonder what we mean by decompensation. That is when there is no more healthy tissue (or not enough) to compensate for the damaged portion of your liver. When decompensation has progressed, some of the common complications include variceal bleeding, hepatic encephalopathy, lung issues, kidney impairment, and ascites.

The cirrhosis death timeline usually ends either at liver failure or liver cancer. That is if none of the complications kill you. Even this would require serious management because some of the complications are deadly. That is why it’s very important to start treatment on time if you have liver disease.

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