I know it's scary to learn you have cirrhosis. My husband has Hep C and Cirrhosis. Yes, people can lead a full and healthy life, with cirrhosis, if it is in the beginning stage and the liver is still working well. As the liver becomes more scarred, people can have more health concerns and may have more symptoms that can be managed for the most part with diet,medications, and care. If the liver continues to get more scarring, people get progressively more sick and may require hospitalization, procedures, or even a transplant. But that doesn't happen to everyone who has cirrhosis, and if it does, it can happen over many years. The thing to do right now is to find out what stage and recommended diet and treatment to prevent further scarring and help keep your liver working.
I agree with Advocate. Cirrhosis in and of itself is not a death sentence. You need to be under the care of a hepatologist, and preferably one working out of a large hospital with a liver transplant center. This is not to say you will need a transplant, but those doctors have the most training and experience in dealing with serious liver disease. Your doctor will have to figure out exactly what has caused the cirrhosis and how to manage that underlying problem so it doesn't continue to damage your liver. If you can put that process on hold you can live a long time in relatively good health in spite of cirrhosis. I was diagnosed in 2004 and am still doing very well, especially since I finally beat the hepatitis C virus that caused it in me. Good luck!
Yes, get a referral to a liver transplant center now. You have stage 4 liver disease. Cirrhosis must be properly managed or it can be life-threatening. You also are prone to liver cancer and need to be monitored for cancer every 6 months. There are too many details to go into here but the first and most important step is to be seeing a hepatologist at a liver transplant center. They are the only doctor that can diagnose the cause of your liver disease, treat it and monitor it. An individual gastroenterologist does not have the knowledge or experience of working with cirrhosis on a daily basis.
Get help now. Liver disease will only get worse over time and time is not on your side.
University Transplant center in San Antonio
We have performed over 1,300 liver transplants since our program began in 1992, and we have grown to be one of the largest transplant programs in the state. We remain dedicated to excellence in the care of liver patients. We are currently the only program in South Texas offering Living Liver Donation as an option for our patients.
University Transplant Center offers a wide variety of liver patient services including:
Liver transplantation, including living donation
Gastroenterology (GI) consultations
Liver and pancreas cancer surgery
Hepatitis B and C research and treatment
For more information about these programs, please contact us at 210-567-5777 or toll-free at 1-888-336-9633.
To expedite patient evaluation, please include the following information with any referral to University Transplant Center:
Name of the primary attending physician for patient
Office address, fax, referring physician e-mail and telephone numbers
Recent patient record, physicals and history
All lab results within previous 3 months
Liver biopsy slides
Recent abdominal imaging/scans/EGD
Patient insurance information, including copy of card
I was diagnosed with cirrhosis in 2011 and remember well how I felt. How could this be happening to me? I have to say this is an excellent support group and there are many here who have lived with cirrhosis for years. Mine was from hepatitis C which has now been erradicated, but I too have fatty liver. A diet modification should help but it depends how far along the cirrhosis is. I would recommend this book - I got it at my library but then bought it. It does answer many questions.
"Cirrhosis, The First Year," by James L Dickerson
find a good hepatologist as Hector says
Thank you all so much, I am so scared. When I went in for a biopsy, I never expected to get the news of cirrhosis of the liver. I have gone thru a week of crying etc. The Dr. who sent me for biopsy is a gastro doctor only. So what I am understanding is I need to ask for a referral to liver transplant center. I have had issues for over six months maybe longer with platelets and my family doctor sent me to oncology/ hemotolgist. They just kept saying maybe itp never doing scans are anything. Then all of the sudden my liver enyzmes shot up, b12 low, oxygen in blood stream somewhat low, of course platlets low. I am sleeping really weird hours, got to take nap in the middle of day. Then wake up at night to sick at stomach, and sometimes all day long nauseated. I have never drink like I said, checked for all hepatitis and aids etc. I have worked taking care of elderly so hepatitis was something he looked at just in case. But it is due to fatty liver and bad liver. So we go in today to talk to the doctor about what biopsy showed stage etc. And what u all are saying to ask for a referral to liver transplant hospital? This is my right right? Thank u all so much for your help. I also want to know I am starting to have pain in right upper by ribs and goes to back is this normal and my breathing has been short. Thanks
This is a horrible time for you now and I'm so sorry about that. Yes, you really need to get a referral to a hepatologist at a liver transplant clinic. Even if you never need or want a transplant, these are the best doctors for taking care of you right now. If you leave your care to doctors with less experience you could end up taking a real risk with your life. This is a time when you really want to be sure that your doctor knows what's going on. We can hope that some of your symptoms are due to the stress you are under at this point, but the pain and shortness of breath could be signs of ascites (fluid build-up) and the sleep problems could be part of the day-night reversal that is common with advanced cirrhosis. Until you get a new hepatology appointment be very careful to keep your sodium intake low, avoid alcohol and NSAIDs entirely, limit Tylenol to less than 2000mg total per day (less is better), and try to avoid any constipation. Good luck and keep us posted!