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What is Compensated Cirrhosis?

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When you find out that you have scarring of the liver called cirrhosis, your doctor will tell you what stage you're in. Depending on how well your liver is working, they'll say it's either "compensated" or "decompensated." Which one it is makes a difference in the kind of treatment you get.

Compensated Cirrhosis

If you have compensated cirrhosis, you won't have any symptoms. Your liver can still do its job because there are enough healthy cells to make up for the damaged cells and scar tissue caused by cirrhosis. You might stay in this stage for many years.

Since there aren't symptoms yet, you may first learn about your cirrhosis during a checkup or through regular blood testing that your doctor ordered. Once you get a diagnosis, you'll be treated to prevent it from getting worse. You may even be able to stop or slow down liver damage.

Cirrhosis always develops because of another liver problem or disease. If you don't treat the cause of your cirrhosis, it'll get worse, and over time your healthy liver cells won't be able to keep up. You might start to get tired, feel like you don't want to eat, and lose weight without trying. After a while, your liver may not be able to work well or at all.

It's important to know the cause of your cirrhosis so you can get the right treatment and keep it from getting worse. The most common causes are:

Alcohol abuse. If you have a drinking problem, it's important to get help. Alcohol harms your liver. Talk to your doctor. He may refer you to a treatment program.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. If your cirrhosis is caused by this disease, you may improve your liver health if you lose weight and keep your blood sugar levels under control.

Hepatitis B or C. Medicines for these diseases can stop more damage from happening to your liver.

What you can do to take care of yourself:

Don't drink alcohol or use street drugs.
Take the medicines your doctor prescribes.
Keep all your doctor's appointments.
Eat enough protein. People with cirrhosis need more than most folks.
Avoid infections. Cirrhosis makes it harder to fight them off.
Get shots for flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis A and B.
Ask your doctor if it's OK to take over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen.

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