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Advanced Liver Disease: General Information

Advanced liver disease, also known as cirrhosis of the liver, is the third stage of liver disease – a slowly progressing condition in which healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue. This stage signifies that the liver has become so scarred that it can no longer heal itself. At this stage, the damage cannot be reversed and treatment options are exclusively focused on keeping the condition from getting worse.

Liver disease has many causes, some of which are environmental and some of which are genetic. The most common causes of liver disease are Hepatitis C, alcohol abuse, and certain types of cancer.

The liver is a vital organ that, when healthy, performs many important functions, including:

  • Ridding the body of harmful substances, such as drugs and alcohol
  • Manufacturing blood proteins that aid in clotting, oxygen transportation, and immune system function
  • Breaking down saturated fat and producing cholesterol
  • Storing excess nutrients and returning some of the nutrients to the bloodstream

Cirrhosis of the liver, however, can hinder these processes and thus lead to a number of complications, including liver cancer, so it is important to be under the treatment of a medical professional at the advanced stage of the disease. Symptoms of advanced liver disease include loss of appetite and energy, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice), itchy skin, a brownish or orange tint to urine, weight loss or gain, personality change, light colored stools, and fever, among other conditions.

Tampa General Hospital is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's best hospitals and highest ranked in Florida for Gastroenterology & GI Surgery. At Tampa General Hospital’s Endoscopy Center, we diagnose and treat individuals suffering from liver conditions such as hepatitis C, hepatitis B, cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, advanced liver disease, and other liver disorders. Use Tampa General Hospital’s Physician Finder to find a gastroenterologist or call 1-800-833-3627.