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Dr. Lohit Shetty Raju

Consultant Surgeon – HPB and Liver transplantation surgery

Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road

The Battle Against Liver Cirrhosis: Hope, Treatment, And Survival

Posted On: May 30, 2024

blogs read 7 Min Read

Liver Cirrhosis - Symptoms, Causes, Stages, and Impacts

Getting diagnosed with liver cirrhosis can be overwhelming. It means that your healthy liver tissue has been replaced with scar tissue which will significantly impact your “quality of life”. As Dr.Alexis Carrel said, “Quality of life is more important than life itself”. However, getting diagnosed with liver cirrhosis doesn’t need to determine what lies ahead of you. With present available treatment options, it can be cured and you can lead a satisfying and healthy life. Many individuals diagnosed with early cirrhosis can successfully manage the condition and live for years without any intervention. In this blog, let us understand the causes of liver cirrhosis and how we can manage it and live healthily.


Understanding Liver Cirrhosis and Its Impact

The liver is a powerhouse organ – it stores proteins, carbohydrates and fats – releases energy at fasting times, filters out the toxins from your blood, produces essential enzymes and assists in digestion. Whenever your liver is injured, it attempts to repair itself and tends to form scar tissue called “fibrosis”. Repeated damage causes excessive accumulation of this scar tissue which impairs liver function –and finally leads to Liver Cirrhosis. It hinders the ability to process blood, nutrients, and toxins efficiently. 

Common causes of hepatic cirrhosis are:

  • Alcohol Abuse

  • Fatty Liver – NASH, MASH

  • Chronic Viral Hepatitis (Hepatitis B & C)

  • Untreated Autoimmune Hepatitis.

  • Metabolic syndrome

    • Obesity

    • Diabetes

  • Genetic conditions.

  • Biliary Disorders 

    • Primary sclerosing cholangitis

    • Primary biliary cholangitis 

Research findings reveal that India is responsible for one-fifth of all cirrhosis deaths globally. Many people with very minor symptoms or simply no symptoms associated with cirrhosis may go unnoticed at an earlier stage. Complications often arise as your liver deteriorates up to 60-70%. 

Stages of Liver Cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis can be broadly divided into two stages. 

1. Compensated Liver Cirrhosis

This stage does not really show a lot of symptoms. Your liver still functions properly. This is because sufficient healthy cells are compensating for the damaged cells and scar tissue. With compensated cirrhosis of the liver, median survival is around 9 years. Nevertheless, you will have to make some lifestyle changes to keep your liver healthy in the long run. 

2. Decompensated Liver Cirrhosis: 

This is a more advanced stage. The scarring in your liver has advanced to the point where complications arise. This phase shows the signs of:

  • Jaundice

  • Fluid accumulation in the abdomen

  • Bleeding varices.

  • Hepatic encephalopathy

The decompensated stage can also develop into kidney disease, lung disease, and liver cancer. Generally, one lives for around 2 years with this phase. 

Your life expectancy with liver cirrhosis also varies on:

  • Your age.

  • Alcohol consumption.

  • Underlying medical conditions.

  • Sarcopenia.

  • Obesity.

  • Malnourishment.

Symptoms of advanced liver cirrhosis

  • Portal Hypertension: It occurs when the scar tissue impedes the natural blood flow. This results in increased blood pressure in the portal vein. It can complicate the situation even more. Here are some examples of  hepatic cirrhosis symptoms 

    • Fluid build-up in the abdomen

    • Swelled ankles, feet, or legs

    • Enlarged veins in the stomach, oesophagus, or intestines

    • Toxin build-up in the brain causes confusion

  • Infections: Cirrhosis compromises your body’s immune system. This increases your chances of developing bacterial infections.

  • Liver Cancer: Studies show that people diagnosed with liver cancer most often have liver cirrhosis.

  • Liver Failure: Cirrhosis could potentially result in end-stage liver disease. Liver failure occurs when the liver is severely damaged and ceases to function. This may require you to go for a liver transplant.

  • Some other negative effects of cirrhosis of the liver include:

    • Bone diseases

    • Issues with bile ducts

    • Malnutrition

    • Gallstones

    • Bleeding

    • Bruising easily

    • Insulin resistance, etc.

Consult our liver transplant hospital in Old Airport Bangalore if you want to learn more about the clinical features of cirrhosis of liver,

Living with Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis of the liver cannot be cured with medical management; however, delaying its progression is an option. The first step to this is to opt for regular consultations with a top liver specialist. This will ensure that your condition is monitored and optimized. The liver specialist in Bangalore will suggest the ideal time to undergo liver transplantation and also will keep surveillance on any liver cancer.  

Here, let us tell you the potential signs of cirrhosis of the liver. The moment you feel a tinge of doubt, visit your doctor.

Remember that these are not the only symptoms of cirrhosis. This is why routine check-ups are crucial for timely intervention. Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol and make them aware of your entire medical history. They may also check if your liver is tender or larger than usual. 

There are several diagnostic tests to identify if you have cirrhosis. For example:

  • Blood tests

  • Imaging – CT scan, MRI 

  • Biopsy

Consult our top liver specialists in Bangalore for the most accurate diagnosis and treatment of your liver ailments.

How to Manage Liver Cirrhosis?

As we have already mentioned, liver cirrhosis is not curable, but it’s manageable. 

Giving up alcohol, shedding pounds, and embracing a healthy way of life are the most beneficial actions to take when dealing with cirrhosis of the liver.

If viral hepatitis is the reason for your liver cirrhosis, taking antiviral drugs can stop further harm to your liver.

Some other treatment options to manage liver cirrhosis include:

  • Medications like beta-blockers and diuretics are used to manage symptoms.

  • Engaging in regular physical activity.

  • Losing weight.

  • Giving up tobacco use

  • Ensuring you are receiving the correct nutrients.

You can also discuss your option of undergoing a liver transplant if your condition worsens further. At Manipal Hospital Old Airport Road, Bangalore, you can consult our top liver transplant surgeon for the most effective outcome. 


The survival timeline of liver cirrhosis typically depends on the stage of the disease. Your age, lifestyle, and health condition also have an influence on your life expectancy. However, depending on the stage of the disease, one can expect to live for around 2 to 12 years. Remember, this is just an estimate. Only your doctor can give you an appropriate answer.

There are simple steps you can take all by yourself to slow the progression of this disease. It includes:

  • Stopping alcohol intake

  • Giving your body proper nutrition

  • Quitting smoking

  • Regularly exercising

  • Routine health check-ups.

You can take all these measures even before getting diagnosed with cirrhosis. This will greatly reduce your risk of developing this condition.

Even though alcohol consumption is a major contributing factor to liver cirrhosis, it is not the only reason. Some other causes include Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Autoimmune diseases, etc. Visit Manipal Hospital Old Airport Road and meet our top liver specialists in Bangalore for an accurate diagnosis and treatment of your liver ailments. 

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