Under normal circumstances, a healthy liver can repair a small amount of tissue damage without altering the life span of the individual. But, with cirrhosis, the damage done is far too severe and there aren’t enough remaining antioxidants to fight the free radicals. Cirrhosis causes scar tissue to develop on the liver, and this causes the liver perform improperly. Cirrhosis is very difficult to detect, because it is asymptomatic. This means that the person with the condition may not experience any symptoms of the disease until it has already progressed into its worst stage. There are a few cases where symptoms may become prevalent, however. These rare cases produce symptoms of rapid weight loss, loss of appetite, easy bruising, and/or bleeding. Cirrhosis is most often found during a test for some other type of disorder. Having an annually or bi-annually test for cirrhosis will increase the chances of detecting this condition in its early stages, if the condition were to develop. Detecting cirrhosis early also improves the method of treatment used to treat it.
As per the Child-Pugh scale, there are three ways to classify cirrhosis. The mortality rate of the patient depends on this score. To provide a scale to determine the score, the patient’s liver is compared to the condition of another cirrhosis patient’s liver. It is then assessed and the patient is then assigned a score that depends on the damage incurred. Class A, Class B, and Class C are three different types of scores that can be received. Class A is the best possible prognosis of the three, and has a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. Class B is also still considered to be a good prognosis, as the life expectancy is around 6 to 10 years. Both Class A and Class B give the patient an adequate amount of time to seek advanced treatment options, such as a possible liver transplant. Class C patients aren’t as lucky. Their life expectancy is only 1 to 3 years.
Abstaining from alcohol and getting proper nutrition can slow the advancement of the disease, but, unfortunately, can’t reverse the condition. It can, however, considerably increase the life span of the patient. Drinking heavily will do the opposite, and will drastically shorten a cirrhosis patient’s life expectancy. Both Class A and Class B patients have bright chances of improving their life expectancy by exploring and taking advantage of various treatment options. Sadly, though, many Class A patients progress into Class B in a short period of time. This is because certain diseases and infections that require surgery can aggravate the liver. Conditions like ascites, encephalopathy, and gastrointestinal bleeding can severely affect the liver and worsen its condition — causing major complications in cirrhosis patients.
Class C patients have limited treatment options. To improve survival chances, alcohol needs to be completely eliminated and a healthy lifestyle needs to be lead. Liver transplants are a viable option, and can be arranged with the guidance of a doctor. Class A and Class B patients can cure cirrhosis with the assistance of certain types of medications. Still, care for the liver will need to be taken to assist with its healing. This can be done through diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Cirrhosis life expectancy relies upon the condition of the liver at the time of the diagnosis. To improve chances of an early diagnosis, be sure to get yourself checked regularly.