Liver fibrosis is the scarring process and histological change caused by liver inflammation. It develops as a result of continuous and repeated injury to the liver.
Accumulation of fibrous tissue, nodules, and scarring interfere with blood circulation and lead to a progressive loss of liver function.
An individual with liver fibrosis often has a history of hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, NASH/NAFLD, or drug intoxication.
A definitive diagnosis for liver fibrosis is reached via a liver biopsy or a FibroScan® test. An ultrasound or MRI can help detect a risk for liver fibrosis and are used to help monitor the progression of fibrosis. Chemical markers, such as those demonstrated through a complete blood count test, can be used to identify the possible presence of fibrosis, but cannot classify fibrosis stages.
There is no standard treatment for fibrosis. The removal of the causative agent is the most effective intervention in the treatment of this disease. Usually, treatment for liver fibrosis will include behavior modification techniques, such as alcohol cessation. It is incredibly important to follow the instructions given by your doctor for the treatment of liver fibrosis. Speak with your doctor, if you are having trouble adapting to the new behaviors required for your treatment of liver fibrosis. Your doctor, as well as many community programs and support groups can help you.
You can take precautions and avoid the causative agents that contribute to the development of liver fibrosis. Taking preventive measures such as receiving a hepatitis A vaccine or a hepatitis b vaccine, can prevent infection of the hepatitis virus. Keeping good hygiene, avoiding unsanitary conditions, and practicing safe-sex can help reduce the risk of developing hepatitis; thus helping to prevent the development of liver fibrosis. Limiting, or completely avoiding, the consumption of alcohol, as well as avoiding illicit drugs, and taking too much of a prescribed or over-the-counter medication, can also help prevent liver fibrosis.
Each causative agent identifies a small percent of patients who will progress in this disease.