Psoriasis Of The Liver
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that commonly impacts the the skin. However, the word “psoriasis” is often mistakenly used in place of the term “cirrhosis”, which is an irreversible, chronic disease that strikes one of the more crucial internal organs found within the body – The liver.
It is important to realize that the correct medical phrase is not psoriasis of the liver, but cirrhosis of the liver. In order to comprehend the severity of any damage being inflicted by psoriasis of the liver, it is critical to understand the role in which this vital organ plays in the body.
The liver is an organ weighing approximately 3 lbs, is more solid than most other vital organs, and has more responsibilities as well. There are many things that the body relies on the liver to properly maintain: production of blood protein that helps prevent clotting, aid in oxygen being transported through the blood, assisting the immune system in properly functioning, keeping blood sugar stored in form of glycogen, breaking down saturated fat, producing bile to aid in the digestion of fats, storing nutrients and returning certain amounts of them back into the bloodstream, and filtering harmful substances introduced into the body, such as drugs and alcohol.
What causes Cirrhosis of the liver?
Some types of cirrhosis are caused by problems associated with obesity, while others are created as the result of other diseases present, for example cystic fibrosis. Typical cases of cirrhosis are generally due to an over indulgence of harmful substances such as alcohol in excessive quantities, and the liver’s inability to properly detoxify the higher volumes.
Other causes are hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis can have a severe adverse affect on the liver and causes massive, as well as rapid (and permanent) destruction within the liver tissue. This is often due to the viral infected blood being constantly filtered back through the organ.
The disease can also be caused as the result of injury to the bile ducts, which allow bile to flow from the liver into the gall bladder. Infants are sometimes born with injury or loss of the bile ducts. This type of cirrhosis is known as “Biliary Atresia”. One of the first signs of an infant suffering from biliary atresia is the unnatural, yellowish tone of the skin.
Primary biliary cirrhosis is a condition in which the ducts are slowly destroyed, and primary sclerosing cholanngitis results in severe inflammation on the the inside and outside of the liver’s bile ducts.
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) are types of psoriasis that although resemble cirrhosis from alcoholism, are often found in patients that drink very rarely, if any at all.
Symptoms of psoriasis are typically the yellow jaundice of the eyes and/or skin. There are test that detect the presence of cirrhosis in the liver. A liver biopsy was at one time the most common and trusted method. The biopsy consisted of a doctor inserting a special needle device through the rib cage and into the liver. Once inserted in the liver, the doctor would pull a trigger that caused the needle end that was inside the liver to essentially “pinch” a small portion of the liver off.
The liver biopsy is of course, quite painful. So other methods are normally preferred if given an option by the doctor. An ultrasound has been commonly used as a routine method in evaluating the liver for the evidence of cirrhosis. However, having a Fibroscan performed can significantly increased the level of early detection because of its effectiveness in determining certain aspects associated with cirrhosis, which are not found in typical ultrasounds.
In a Fibroscan, electric waves are sent through the body, focusing on the area of the liver. These waves can determine the liver’s stiffness and transfer that information as a scale referred to as the “METAVIR” scale. The Metavir scale takes into consideration the liver’s density and important pressure readings. The Fibroscan allows technicians to apply an actual number from these readings and compare those numbers to the Metavir scale. This method of testing is much faster than a biopsy, typically lasting only 3-5 minutes, displays correlation of severity in the cirrhosis and is absolutely noninvasive (and painless).
Other important diagnostic methods are an abdominal CT scan and a bile/liver duct MRI.
Complications associated with Cirrhosis of the liver
One of the most well known and visual signs of severe liver cirrhosis is Ascites. This is the condition in which the abdomen begins to swell, as if it were about to burst from fluid retention within the abdominal cavity. Typically this condition is also a sign of a very poor prognosis and the long-term outcome is not promising. An increased risk of infection can be associated with the retention of this fluid.
Hepatic Encephalopathy is another potential complications, were the patient becomes highly confused and can go into a coma. There is certain cases in which bleeding from the esophageal varices can occur.
Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis
When the liver becomes inflicted with cirrhosis, the result is the normal liver functions begin to slow down, or even fail altogether. When the normal functions begin to decrease, problems quickly arise. Such as the case of the swelling abdomen being the result of the blood proteins that the liver needs to filter, but cannot – thereby causing the water retention.
Clotting becomes an issue and the patient may begin to bleed very easily. In cases of females, the menstrual cycle can begin to deviate from its normal pattern. Serious exhaustion and fatigue, becoming weak and eating less are symptoms associated with cirrhosis, as is impotence in some males.
Cirrhosis of the liver is typically irreversible, although there are methods to greatly slow down its progression. Usually diagnosis and treatment tend to center more on slowing down progression of the disease, as well as confronting the complications associated with the infliction. Just remember that the word cirrhosis and psoriasis, although they sound very similar are not the same thing. Using psoriasis of the liver is normally an incorrect usage of the medical terminology, for the potentially life threatening disease, cirrhosis of the liver.