The normal functioning of liver is affected by cirrhosis. The diagnosis of a patient suspected with liver cirrhosis starts with detailed medical history. This identifies the presence of any risk factors that make the person more susceptible to cirrhosis.
For diagnosis, the doctor may do a physical exam and ask about the medical history of the patient. The doctor may also ask about symptoms and rule out the possibility of any other problem. Most often blood tests and imaging tests are done to diagnose cirrhosis.
A biopsy is another option suggested by the doctors as it can detect cirrhosis. Doctors will also try to rule out other conditions that may affect the liver to confirm the disease.
Following are the techniques and procedures commonly suggested:
A person suffering from cirrhosis shows certain symptoms like fatigue, weakness and weight loss. In addition, recurring infections and low sexual drive are common in people suffering from this condition.
The person may also have blood in vomiting and brown-black stool. The doctor may ask certain questions related to it for diagnosis. By analyzing the medical history and symptoms of the patient, a doctor can diagnose cirrhosis. Read more about cirrhosis symptoms.
All forms of chronic liver diseases have a potential to turn into cirrhosis. Any history of such past disease should be openly discussed with the doctor to rule out any possibility of cirrhosis.
Metabolic syndromes like diabetes and obesity are also taken into consideration. Information regarding past medical history of the patient helps the doctor to identify any hepatotoxic drug that might be used by the patient.
A variety of physical features related to cirrhosis is observed in detailed physical examination by the healthcare professional. These may be sometimes specific to the causative agent. Following are some of them:
The doctor may start the diagnosis with above-mentioned physical symptoms.
The liver works in the production and breakdown of many substances. The level of certain chemicals that are produced in the liver can be measured to know about the working of the liver. Following substances are measured using a blood test:
The liver also functions to produce some enzymes. These tests, by checking the level of enzymes produced by the liver, can determine the inflammation in the liver. These include:
In addition to the tests mentioned above, there are other diagnostic procedures that help in the timely diagnosis of cirrhosis. These are:
Along with tests for enzymes and blood, imaging tests are also suggested by doctors to detect any tumor and blocked bile ducts. These imaging tests are also used to determine the size of the organ and blood flow through it. Following are the tests commonly used:
Liver biopsy is the most specific and sensitive test for the diagnosis of Cirrhosis. It can also determine the underlying cause of liver disease.
A small needle is inserted into the liver to collect a tissue sample. This is done in the hospital by trained professionals. The tissue is then analyzed for the variety of disorders and diseases in the liver.
The procedure is bit expensive but the risk of internal bleeding is minimum with it.
There are other tests that may be done to confirm cirrhosis and other complications related to it. These are:
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