What is Compensated Cirrhosis?

Deneatra Harmon
Deneatra Harmon
Several stages of liver disease: hepatic steatosis, hepatic fibrosis, and hepatic cirrhosis.
Several stages of liver disease: hepatic steatosis, hepatic fibrosis, and hepatic cirrhosis.

Cirrhosis is a liver disease that is generally divided into two stages: compensated and decompensated. Compensated cirrhosis means the liver still works relatively well despite any scarring, or fibrosis. People with this type of cirrhosis generally experience mild or no symptoms, but they should still be treated. If compensated cirrhosis does not get treated early, it can lead to the more serious decompensated cirrhosis. Risk factors include lifestyle and contributing health problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis B and C, and inflammatory bowel disease.

An abdominal ultrasound may help diagnose cirrhosis.
An abdominal ultrasound may help diagnose cirrhosis.

According to medical sources, the word cirrhosis comes from the Greek term scirrhus and refers to the medical condition that leaves brown or orange spots on the liver. Compensated cirrhosis is generally the early stage of liver cirrhosis, or chronic liver disease. A person with this stage of cirrhosis likely has liver scarring or discoloration, but the liver still generates enough healthy cells to function normally.

Some people with compensated cirrhosis experience no symptoms.
Some people with compensated cirrhosis experience no symptoms.

Some people with compensated cirrhosis experience no symptoms, and they may live for several years before experiencing any type of liver-related illness or liver failure. Others with the early stage of the disease may experience fatigue, low energy, abdominal pain, nausea, weight loss and a loss of appetite. Patients may also develop spider angiomas, or small red spots on the skin.

Drinking large amounts of alcohol can, over time, lead to liver disease.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol can, over time, lead to liver disease.

Lifestyle factors and underlying health problems tend to cause compensated cirrhosis. Heavy alcohol use usually leads to the liver disease over time. Other culprits that put people at risk include nonalcoholic fatty liver disease caused by eating a high-fat diet as well as hepatitis B and C, which inflame the liver cells. People with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma or inflammatory bowel disease may also develop the liver disease.

Symptoms of compensated cirrhosis may include abdominal pain.
Symptoms of compensated cirrhosis may include abdominal pain.

Treatment for the condition often requires HCV antiviral therapy, which includes medications that are generally used to treat similar conditions, such as hepatitis C. Medications do not cure liver scarring; they work to slow down the progression of the disease.

If left untreated, the liver can deteriorate and progress to decompensated, or late-stage, cirrhosis. Symptoms in this case include jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, and fluid buildup in the abdomen, legs, and feet. Doctors usually evaluate the patient's medical history and conduct a physical examination followed by a blood test, an imaging test and a liver biopsy to diagnosis the stage of cirrhosis.

Some people may experience fatigue and low energy during the early stages of compensated cirrhosis.
Some people may experience fatigue and low energy during the early stages of compensated cirrhosis.

Changes in lifestyle habits can also reduce the risk of liver failure or other complications. Reducing salt intake and eating more healthful foods reduces the fluid buildup often associated with cirrhosis. Patients must stop drinking alcohol altogether to avoid further liver scarring. Medications such as ibuprofen and herbal supplements such as kava kava reportedly cause fibrosis, so it is best to seek a doctor's advice before taking them.

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    • Several stages of liver disease: hepatic steatosis, hepatic fibrosis, and hepatic cirrhosis.
      By: peterjunaidy
      Several stages of liver disease: hepatic steatosis, hepatic fibrosis, and hepatic cirrhosis.
    • An abdominal ultrasound may help diagnose cirrhosis.
      By: nyul
      An abdominal ultrasound may help diagnose cirrhosis.
    • Some people with compensated cirrhosis experience no symptoms.
      By: maya2008
      Some people with compensated cirrhosis experience no symptoms.
    • Drinking large amounts of alcohol can, over time, lead to liver disease.
      By: olly
      Drinking large amounts of alcohol can, over time, lead to liver disease.
    • Symptoms of compensated cirrhosis may include abdominal pain.
      By: westfotos.de
      Symptoms of compensated cirrhosis may include abdominal pain.
    • Some people may experience fatigue and low energy during the early stages of compensated cirrhosis.
      By: miya227
      Some people may experience fatigue and low energy during the early stages of compensated cirrhosis.
    • Fatty liver disease increases a person's risk of compensated cirrhosis.
      By: joshya
      Fatty liver disease increases a person's risk of compensated cirrhosis.
    • Fatigue and low energy are often the only symptoms of compensated cirrhosis.
      By: Focus Pocus LTD
      Fatigue and low energy are often the only symptoms of compensated cirrhosis.