Thanks to science and technology, we now have a number of different methodologies to ascertain medical conditions based on what actually caused them. In short, our medical experts have greatly diverted from simple guesswork when it comes to identifying health conditions and have taken on a more scientific and data-driven approach to wellness and health. One such assessment tool is the Cirrhosis histology assessment which can greatly help healthcare professionals in identifying and eventually addressing liver-related conditions. In this article, we will look at what cirrhosis Histology assessment is and some other general information on cirrhosis so read on to find out more!
Cirrhosis Histology Assessment: A Brief Introduction
All types of liver diseases that are chronic which advance to full-blown cirrhosis have some histologic characteristics that are common especially in terms of nodular degeneration and hepatic fibrosis. However, a Cirrhosis Histology Assessment can look at the signs and symptoms of the patient to identify the exact underlying etiology of the disease as these symptoms can vary depending on the said etiology.
For example, individuals suffering from liver disease that is already end-stage and caused by hepatitis C may experience muscle wasting that is profound, ascites that are marked, with mild jaundice but severe hepatic encephalopathy. On the other hand, those with primary biliary cirrhosis that is also classified as end-stage may experience no muscle wasting but can be deeply icteric.
To better appreciate this kind of assessment, we need to look at what cirrhosis is and how cirrhosis develops within the human body.
Cirrhosis: A General Overview
Cirrhosis is referred to as liver scarring with resulting in poor functioning of the liver observed in the terminal phase of liver disease that is chronic. The said scarring is mostly the result of long periods of exposure to various toxins such as viral infections and alcohol. The liver can be found in the abdomen’s upper right side portion just below the individual’s ribs and is responsible for a number of different critical biological functions which include:
- Creation of proteins that are blood-clotting
- Having the body purified through the removal of toxins such as bacteria and alcohol
- Helping the body in the storage of vitamins and sugar to be used by the body.
- The production of bile which can aid in the absorption of vitamins K, E, D, A, cholesterol, and dietary fats.
Cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death in the US based on National Institutes of Health’s data. The same data also shows that men are more affected by the said condition than women.
Development of Cirrhosis
In general, the liver is an organ that is resilient and can usually have damaged cells regenerated. Cirrhosis forms when factors that are damaging or harmful to the liver such as viral infections and alcohol are present for extended periods. Once this occurs, the liver suffers injuries and develops scarring. A liver that is scarred won’t be able to properly function and can lead to cirrhosis in the long run.
Cirrhosis also makes the liver hard and shrunk which can, in turn, make it more difficult for blood that is nutrient-rich from the portal vein into the liver. This vein transports blood from the organs responsible for digestion to the liver itself. The portal vein’s pressure will rise if the blood is unable to penetrate the liver. The result is portal hypertension. It a critical health condition wherein there is high blood pressure development in the said vein. The major risk brought about by this form of hypertension is that it can cause a major backup, which can then result in varicose veins and other forms of esophageal varices. These varices can bleed if and when they burst.
Cirrhosis: Common Causes
One of the most common causes of Cirrhosis in the US is viral hepatitis C. It is a long term and alcohol abuse that is chronic. Cirrhosis can also be the result of obesity although it is not up there with hepatitis C and alcohol abuse. Obesity may form part of the factors for risk, or it can be combined with other risk factors such as hepatitis C and alcohol abuse.
Per the NIH, women who for many years drink at least two (2) alcoholic drinks on a daily basis are prone to developing cirrhosis. For male individuals, drinking above three alcoholic beverages on a daily basis can increase their risk of developing cirrhosis. It must be noted though, that the actual levels or amounts of alcohol intake are different. This does not mean that those who don’t drink more than others will not develop this health condition. Alcohol abuse that results in cirrhosis is usually due to drinking regularly more than the said amounts in the course of a decade or 12 years.
Sexual intercourse can also lead to hepatitis C infection. It may also be through the use of infected blood products or blood. It can also be through contaminated needles such as needle sharing, drug abuse, piercings, and tattoos. Hepatitis C is rarely transferred from one patient to another through the transfusion of the blood in the US. This is due to the high-quality standards set forth by the blood banks in terms of screening.
Some of the other possible causes of Cirrhosis are:
- Hepatitis B: This condition can lead to the inflammation of the liver which can cause cirrhosis.
- Hepatitis D: This form of hepatitis can also lead to cirrhosis as is observed in individuals who are already afflicted with Hepatitis B
- Autoimmune Disease inflammation-These diseases have genetic roots and most individuals that do have this kind of health condition are females.
- Bile duct damage-Primary biliary cirrhosis can lead to draining of the bile which can also lead to cirrhosis.
- Disorders in the body’s copper and iron handling or management-These include diseases such as Wilson’s disease and hemochromatosis