What Is Compensated Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is a liver disease that is generally divided into two stages: compensated and decompensated. Compensated cirrhosis means the liver still works relatively well despite any scarring, or fibrosis. People with this type of cirrhosis generally experience mild or no symptoms, but they should still be treated. If compensated cirrhosis does not get treated early, it can lead to the more serious decompensated cirrhosis. Risk factors include lifestyle and contributing health problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis B and C, and inflammatory bowel disease.
According to medical sources, the word cirrhosis comes from the Greek term scirrhus and refers to the medical condition that leaves brown or orange spots on the liver. Compensated cirrhosis is generally the early stage of liver cirrhosis, or chronic liver disease. A person with this stage of cirrhosis likely has liver scarring or discoloration, but the liver still generates enough healthy cells to function normally.
If you have compensated cirrhosis, you may not have any symptoms. Your liver can still do its job because there are enough healthy cells to make up for the damaged cells and scar tissue caused by cirrhosis.
Some people with compensated cirrhosis experience no symptoms at all, and they may live for several years before experiencing any type of liver-related illness or liver failure. Others with the early stage of the disease may experience fatigue, low energy, abdominal pain, nausea, weight loss and a loss of appetite. Patients may also develop spider angiomas, or small red spots on the skin.
Lifestyle factors and underlying health problems tend to cause compensated cirrhosis. Heavy alcohol use usually leads to the liver disease over time. Other culprits that put people at risk include nonalcoholic fatty liver disease caused by eating a high-fat diet as well as hepatitis B and C, which inflame the liver cells. People with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma or inflammatory bowel disease may also develop the liver disease.
Treatment for the condition often requires HCV antiviral therapy, which includes medications that are generally used to treat similar conditions, such as hepatitis C. Medications do not cure liver scarring; they work to slow down the progression of the disease.
For those who have progressed from fatty liver or alcoholic fatty liver, the treatment is ceasing whatever is causing the issue (diet, obesity, alcohol) and in time the condition will improve.
If left untreated, the liver can deteriorate and progress to decompensated, or late-stage, end-stage cirrhosis.
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