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chronic liver disease

Chronic liver disease (cirrhosis) is marked by the gradual destruction of liver tissue over time and replacement of normal liver with nodules of scar tissue. Several liver diseases fall under this category. The end results of the gradual destruction are cirrhosis and fibrosis of the liver.


Cirrhosis of the liver is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Because of chronic damage to the liver, scar tissue slowly replaces normal functioning liver tissue, progressively diminishing blood flow through the liver. As the normal liver tissue is lost, nutrients, hormones, drugs, and poisons are not processed effectively by the liver. In addition, protein production and other substances produced by the liver are inhibited.


Symptoms may include:


  • abnormal liver function
  • ascites - fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity
  • breast enlargement in men
  • vomiting blood
  • curling of fingers (Dupuytren's contracture of the palms)
  • gallstones
  • hair loss
  • itching
  • jaundice
  • kidney failure
  • liver encephalopathy
  • muscle loss
  • poor appetite
  • portal hypertension
  • redness of palms
  • salivary gland enlargement in cheeks
  • shrinking of testes
  • weakness
  • weight loss

Causes may include:



Treatment may include:



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Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton Hamilton. Phone: 609-586-7900 Physician Referral: 609-584-5900.

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