How long can you live with cirrhosis of the liver? If you have heard about liver cirrhosis then you would know that it is a scary disease that is sometimes described as life-threatening. Liver diseases have different stages and its late-stage is cirrhosis of the liver. This stage causes liver damage and scarring. The scarring can eventually stop the liver from performing correctly thus causing its failure. Several other things could cause cirrhosis such as serious alcoholism, severe hepatitis C, autoimmune hepatitis, infections, cystic fibrosis, fatty liver illness (nonalcoholic), and poorly developed bile ducts.
Cirrhosis is progressive and worsens over time. Sadly this condition cannot be reversed instead there is a treatment that may be administered to slow down its development or progression. Cirrhosis affects life expectancy based on its severity. The patient’s life expectancy can be determined through some methods and we mentioned these in the succeeding subtopics.
How Long Can You Live With Cirrhosis Of The Liver?
To determine how long a patient with liver cirrhosis can life or better said as their life expectancy, you will have to use either CTP or MELD score, there are other ways both these are the popular ones. CTP stands for Child-Turcotte-Pugh and MELD stands for Model for End-Stage Liver Disease.
This score helps to determine what class of cirrhosis the patient has. Class A is the mildest and its life expectancy is the longest. Class B is moderate while the third class, C is severe.
This score sheet helps determine what are the death risks for patients with the end or last stage of liver disease. The laboratory test values for bilirubin, serum creatinine, and serum sodium are utilized here.
MELD score determines the mortality rate for up to three months. Is simpler terms it means the likelihood of a person dying within the next three months. This is not just helpful for having an idea of a patient’s life expectancy but it also helps in prioritizing people on the liver transplant waiting list.
When cirrhosis patients get a liver transplant a few more years can be added to their life. The higher a person’s MELD score is the higher the chances of the person dying in three months.
Note that life expectancy is only an estimate. It is not possible to determine the exact time a cirrhosis patient has left on earth. The MELD and CPT scores only give an idea. That being said let us go on to look at the scores.
In the CPT chart, a score of 5-6 indicates class A and the survival rate for the next two years is 80%. A score of 7-9 indicates class B and a 60% survival rate for the next two years. A score of 10-15 indicates class C and a 35% survival rate for the next two years.
In the MELD chart, a score lower than 9 indicates a 1.9% mortality risk for three months. A score within 10-19 indicates 6.0 percent of mortality risk for the next three months. A score of 20-19 indicates a 19.6% mortality risk for the next three months. A score of 30-39 indicates a 52.6% mortality risk for the next three months and a score higher than 40 indicates a 71.3% mortality risk for the next three months.
Can Life Expectancy Be Increased?
While cirrhosis can not be reversed there are some things that can be done to avoid liver damage and to reduce its progression rate. These include;
- Avoiding alcohol – Alcohol is notorious for causing harm to the liver and its best that you abstain from it especially if your liver is already damaged.
- Limit salt intake – Liver cirrhosis makes it difficult for the liver to retain blood fluid. Consumption of salt increases the chances of the fluid becoming excess. You don’t necessarily have to remove salt entirely from your meal but you can avoid using too much of it while cooking and restrict processed foods.
- Lessen infection risks – A healthy liver would produce proteins that assist the body’s immune system fight off infection. A sick liver will not be able to do this efficiently so you have to help it by doing all you can to put yourself away from the reach of infections. Wash both hands frequently. Limit physical contact with people, especially those with an active infection like the flu.
- Use medications carefully – This is specifically for over the counter drugs. Your liver process all medications and chemicals that you take into your body. Inform your doctor if you are using any over the counter drugs, herbs, or supplements to ensure that you are not stressing your liver.
Sitting across the doctor and hearing for the first time that you have cirrhosis can be too much to take in. The first question you might ask immediately how long can you live with cirrhosis of the liver. Even if you did not know about this illness, the name alone sounds like a big deal and can cause you to panic.
- The first thing you should know is that you are not alone, there are a lot of people like you living with cirrhosis.
- Look out for a group that supports patients in your condition, it could be in healthcare or hospital facilities. Your doctor might know one or two of such groups.
- Request to see a specialist who will supply more information and treatment plans for the disease.
- Live one day at a time, find happiness again, don’t blame yourself, or dwell on your condition. Improve the quality of your life and health. Live one day at a time.