cirrhosis

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cirrhosis

(sərō`səs), degeneration of tissue in an organ resulting in fibrosis, with nodule and scar formation. The term is most often used in relation to the liver, because that organ is most often involved in cirrhosis. Cirrhosis of the liver interferes with the liver's metabolism of nutrients, detoxification of the blood, bile production, and other normal functions (see liverliver,
largest glandular organ of the body, weighing about 3 lb (1.36 kg). It is reddish brown in color and is divided into four lobes of unequal size and shape. The liver lies on the right side of the abdominal cavity beneath the diaphragm.
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); its damage is irreversible.

The most prevalent form of cirrhosis of the liver, portal cirrhosis, appears most often in middle-aged males with a history of chronic alcoholismalcoholism,
disease characterized by impaired control over the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Alcoholism is a serious problem worldwide; in the United States the wide availability of alcoholic beverages makes alcohol the most accessible drug, and alcoholism is the most
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 and is caused in part by protein deficiency (specifically choline), a type of malnutrition common in alcoholics. Protein deprivation is also responsible for kwashiorkorkwashiorkor
, protein deficiency disorder of children. It is prevalent in overpopulated parts of the world where the diet consists mainly of starchy vegetables, particularly in sections of Africa, Central and South America, and S Asia.
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, a nutritional deficiency with symptoms resembling those of cirrhosis of the liver. A major cause of cirrhosis worldwide is infection by the hepatitishepatitis
, inflammation of the liver. There are many types of hepatitis. Causes include viruses, toxic chemicals, alcohol consumption, parasites and bacteria, and certain drugs.
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 B virus. Biliary cirrhosis is a type caused by disruption of bile flow and is more common in women. Other causes include schistosomiasisschistosomiasis
, bilharziasis,
or snail fever,
parasitic disease caused by blood flukes, trematode worms of the genus Schistosoma. Three species are human parasites: S. mansoni, S. japonicum, and S. haematobium.
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 and hemochromatosis, a hereditary iron storage disease.

Failure of liver function results in ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity), increased albumin and blood protein, gastrointestinal disturbances, bleeding, emaciation, portal hypertension, enlargement of the liver and spleen, jaundice, edemaedema
, abnormal accumulation of fluid in the body tissues or in the body cavities causing swelling or distention of the affected parts. Edema of the ankles and lower legs (in ambulatory patients) is characteristic of congestive heart failure, but it can accompany other
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, and obstruction of the venous circulation with distention of the veins. It is not uncommon for greatly distended veins in the esophagus to rupture and cause massive hemorrhage. Treatment is first aimed at any reversible underlying disease. Supportive measures include avoidance of alcohol, a diet with adequate protein, vitamin supplements, transfusions to replace any blood loss, and removal of accumulated fluid. Beta-blockersbeta-blocker
or beta-adrenergic blocking agent
, drug that reduces the symptoms connected with hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, angina pectoris, migraine headaches, and other disorders related to the sympathetic nervous system.
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, such as propranolol, have been shown to be effective in reducing the rate of gastrointestinal bleeding, one of the most lethal complications of cirrhosis.

Cirrhosis

 

cicatricial shrinkage and deformity of an organ caused by infectious diseases, poisonings, metabolic disturbances, and other factors. Cirrhosis mostly affects parenchymatous organs, for example, the liver (which acquires a yellowish color as a result), the kidneys (nephrocirrhosis), and lungs (interstitial pneumonia). The morphological manifestations of cirrhosis include degeneration and necrosis of parenchymatous elements, distorted regeneration, diffuse proliferation of connective tissues (sclerosis), and structural reorganization and deformity of the organ. Chronic functional insufficiency of the affected organ is one of the main clinical symptoms. Since the proliferation of connective tissues may be due to a variety of factors, a distinction is made between postnecrotic, inflammatory, angiogenic, and metabolic forms of cirrhosis. The disease is believed to be reversible in its early stages.

V. V. SEROV

cirrhosis

[sə′rō·səs]
(medicine)
A progressive, inflammatory disease of the liver characterized by a real or apparent increase in the proportion of hepatic connective tissue.

cirrhosis

any of various progressive diseases of the liver, characterized by death of liver cells, irreversible fibrosis, etc.: caused by inadequate diet, excessive alcohol, chronic infection, etc.