Liver Cirrhosis Insurance
Liver Cirrhosis Insurance
This sentence is one of the oft-provided provided examples of the ‘Pun’ figure of speech. The play is on the word ‘liver’ as it denotes the organ as well as the person.
Grammar apart, the sentence does stand true. The liver is one of the critical internal organs of the human body. It helps with producing energy for the body, eliminating toxins and regulating the waste products of the blood. Therefore, it makes sense that a healthy liver equals a healthy and happy life.
One of the common ailments of the liver is liver cirrhosis - severe scarring of the liver tissue. The primary and conventional liver cirrhosis causes were Hepatitis B and C. However, with a paradigm shift in the human lifestyle and dynamics of the illness, alcohol consumption and obesity are becoming the common and major causes of liver cirrhosis.
One of the best ways to tackle liver cirrhosis is early detection as well as quality and timely treatment. However, liver cirrhosis treatment in India can be expensive. With the rising medical inflation, any major medical procedure involves considerable expense. This is where a comprehensive health insurance plan helps.
Medical insurance helps you focus on getting the best-quality treatment and recuperating well by taking care of the medical expenditure. However, it is important to opt for comprehensive coverage, along with cashless treatment, for all-round protection.
Tata AIG offers a MediCare range of health insurance plans that meet varied coverage and budget requirements. With comprehensive coverage, cashless support across 7000+ network hospitals, seamless claim procedure, great claim settlement ratio, and much more, Tata AIG medical insurance offers holistic support in your time of need.
What is Liver Cirrhosis?
According to the website of the World Gastroenterology Organisation, liver cirrhosis is characterised by “fibrosis and architectural distortion of the liver with the formation of regenerative nodules.”
Liver cirrhosis is chronic liver damage that converts healthy hepatic tissues into scarred tissues. It is generally the aftermath of a wide variety of liver issues, including viral hepatitis, Non-Alcoholic Steato-Hepatitis (NASH), alcoholic fatty liver or Alcohol-Related Liver Disease (ARLD), Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and so on.
Various liver diseases and conditions can injure healthy liver cells, leading to inflammation and cell death. The subsequent cell repair can cause severe tissue scarring. Scarred liver tissues can obstruct normal liver functions, block the blood flow to the liver and diminish its ability to process nutrients, natural toxins, drugs and hormones.
Who can Develop Liver Cirrhosis?
- Individuals in the age group of 45 to 54 years.
- Individuals with alcohol addiction or excessive alcohol consumption
- Individuals diagnosed with severe obesity
- Individuals diagnosed with chronic or viral hepatitis
Symptoms and Signs of Liver Cirrhosis
The symptoms and signs of liver cirrhosis depend on the severity, stage and type of liver cirrhosis detected.
The visible symptoms of liver cirrhosis in the early stages of the condition are:
- Unintended weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
On the other hand, the visible signs of liver cirrhosis at a later or advanced stage are (apart from the ones mentioned above):
- Yellowing skin
- Redness of palms
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Skin itching
- Swelling in the feet, ankles and legs
- Ascites or build-up of fluid in the abdomen
- Bloody stool
- Telangiectasias or spidery blood vessels around certain red spots across the body
- Personality changes, concentration issues, confusion
Liver Cirrhosis Causes
As per hepatologists and medical researchers, existing liver issues and liver diseases can lead to liver cirrhosis if left untreated for long. The following are the major liver cirrhosis causes:
- Hepatitis B and C: Individuals afflicted with Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C and taking regular medication are at a higher risk of developing liver cirrhosis.
- Fatty Liver Disease: Issues of excessive weight and severe obesity increase the chances of liver cirrhosis.
- Excessive alcohol consumption: Uncontrolled alcohol consumption and chronic alcohol abuse are the major liver cirrhosis causes in recent times.
- Biliary Atresia: In this condition, the bile-carrying tubes between the liver and the gallbladder get blocked, leading to liver damage and, ultimately, liver cirrhosis.
- Other conditions that can lead to liver cirrhosis: Hemochromatosis, Cystic Fibrosis, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, Sugar Metabolism Disorders, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency and other liver disorders.
Liver Cirrhosis Stages or Types of Liver Cirrhosis
Liver cirrhosis is, on its own, a result of severe liver disease and liver damage. It is the penultimate stage before end-stage liver disease or hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).
Liver damage begins with inflammation, which, if left untreated, can lead to liver cirrhosis.
Following are the liver cirrhosis stages beginning from the initial scarring up to end-stage liver disease or carcinoma.
Stage 1 - Scarring of the Liver Tissue: This liver cirrhosis stage has minor symptoms and no significant health issues. Stage 2 - Hypertension: If the initial scarring is left untreated, the liver cirrhosis might progress to blood pressure-related ailments. Stage 3 - Abdominal Swelling: In this liver cirrhosis stage, swelling of the abdomen leads to serious liver scarring. This stage is also characterised by decompensated cirrhosis and dire complications that can lead to liver failure. Stage 4 - End-Stage Liver Disease (ESLD): Patients are most likely to develop ESLD, which can be fatal and warrants a mandatory liver transplant.
Diagnosing Liver Cirrhosis
In case your lifestyle and health conditions align with the aforementioned liver cirrhosis causes or if you notice any signs of liver cirrhosis, visit your doctor immediately.
A medical practitioner will use the following methods to diagnose liver cirrhosis:
1. Physical Examination: The doctor will check the physical and visible signs of liver cirrhosis, such as abdominal pain or swelling, yellow tint of the skin, redness of palms, bruises, red and spidery blood vessels, etc. 2. Blood Work: Blood tests, such as Liver Function Tests (LFT) can help detect liver issues. The critical parameters that show liver damage are increased liver enzymes and iron, high bilirubin and WBC, decreased albumin and blood clotting factors, presence of auto-antibodies and so on. 3. Imaging: Tests such as Abdominal Ultrasound, Computerised Tomography (CT) Scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can help doctors check the size, texture and shape of the liver. These tests also help in understanding the extent of fluid and fat in your liver as well as the severity of liver scarring. 4. Biopsy: This involves the removal of some liver tissue and its microscopic observation to evaluate the degree of liver scarring and damage and check for liver enlargement and other issues.
Liver Cirrhosis Treatment
One of the major liver cirrhosis causes in today’s times is the unhealthy lifestyle - excessive alcohol consumption, overeating, etc. Limiting alcohol consumption and maintaining a healthy weight are some of the treatments for managing liver damage caused by chronic alcohol abuse and obesity. Additionally, there are medicines and treatments to treat hepatitis, the second major cause of cirrhosis.
Some common liver cirrhosis treatment methods adopted by doctors are —
- Medical Procedures: Doctors may perform an upper endoscopy at specific intervals to evaluate and keep track of vein enlargement. In case of varices (swollen or enlarged veins) and the resultant bleeding, the doctors can conduct a band ligation.
- Medication: Doctors will prescribe antibiotics for hepatitis, pneumonia or influenza before starting the liver cirrhosis treatment. Medication can also be prescribed for excessive fluid.
- Diet: A healthy diet to manage obesity, no alcohol consumption and low sodium intake for excessive fluid can be prescribed.
- Transplant: In advanced liver cirrhosis stages, with excessive liver damage, a liver transplant becomes mandatory. The scarred/damaged liver tissue is replaced with healthy liver tissues from a deceased or an alive donor.
- Other Treatments: Researchers and scientists are leveraging the massive developments in medical science to develop newer approaches and procedures for liver cirrhosis treatment.
Liver Cirrhosis Prevention
‘Prevention is always better than cure’.
Liver cirrhosis is the result of liver scarring and early-stage liver ailments. So, if you have been diagnosed with liver issues and wish to prevent it from worsening to cirrhosis, here are some prevention tips:
1. Eat Healthy : People with existing liver conditions or with a family history of the same should ensure a healthy, well-balanced diet. The daily dietary intake should include lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. Additionally, ensure a low-sodium (low salt) diet. Keep a check on calories and harmful fats as obesity can worsen liver issues.
2. Responsible Alcohol Consumption : It is imperative to limit your alcohol consumption as it directly impacts the liver. In case of an existing diagnosis of liver issues, it is advisable to completely quit alcohol.
3. Protect Against Infections : Liver damage can lower your immunity and make it difficult to ward off infections. Thus, if you are already diagnosed with hepatic illnesses, protect yourself against infections by ensuring proper hygiene, taking prescribed supplements and getting vaccinated.
4. Avoid Self-Medication : Liver ailments, including early-stage liver damage, affects the organ’s ability to process drugs. You will have to take multiple prescribed medications to manage your condition. Make sure to avoid any over-the-counter drugs or self-medication without proper doctor consultation.
5. Get Timely Treatment: Unchecked liver issues can lead to serious ailments and eventual liver cirrhosis and end-stage liver diseases, including cancer. Make sure to watch out for the signs of liver cirrhosis or even minor discomfort and get yourself checked for timely diagnosis and treatment.
Rest Assured with a Health Insurance Plan
Despite all your precautions, if you still manage to get diagnosed with liver damage or cirrhosis, make sure to avail yourself of quality treatment. However, with the rising costs of medical treatment in India, good treatment can put a dent in your savings. Therefore, it is imperative to buy a health insurance plan.
Here are some benefits of medical insurance that help you rest assured about availing proper treatment and focussing on getting better:
1.Take care of medical expenditure: The primary benefit of a health insurance plan is that it pays for your medical expenses (subject to the extent of coverage). The liver cirrhosis treatment, surgery, after-surgery care, procedures, etc., can be quite expensive. If you have medical insurance, you won’t have to exhaust your savings as your insurer will pay for the treatment.
2. Cashless network of hospitals: There are two ways in which health insurance companies take care of your medical expenditure - reimbursement or cashless claim.
In the former, you pay the bills first and then claim the amount from your insurer. However, with cashless claims, you don’t have to worry about accumulating funds or paying from your pocket. Your insurance company will directly settle the bill with the hospital. You only have to make sure that the hospital is part of the insurer’s cashless network.
This is especially beneficial in case of emergencies when fund crunch can stop you from getting quick and quality treatment. Leading insurers have a wide network of cashless hospitals to choose from.
3. Contemporary lifestyle: The hustle and bustle of today’s lives leave the gates open for a wide range of lifestyle diseases. While lifestyle changes may not be possible in a competitive world, it is advisable to get a health insurance plan which will take care of any expenses arising from medical emergencies.
4.Peace of mind: Medical insurance accords you peace of mind as you can opt for a good hospital, quality healthcare and timely treatment without worrying about the expenditure.
If you or your family members fall prey to liver-related issues, health insurance allows you to focus on treatment and recuperation without stressing about anything else.
5. Health insurance tax benefits: Apart from all the above advantages, you can enjoy health insurance tax benefits against your policy payments under Section 80D of the Indian Income Tax Act.
How to Buy Tata AIG Medical Insurance?
Tata AIG offers a quick, straightforward and seamless health insurance purchase and renewal process. If you are looking to buy comprehensive health insurance, then Tata AIG offers three MediCare medical insurance plans and a MediCare Plus super top-up plan. You can buy a Tata AIG MediCare health insurance plan either online from the comfort of your home or offline by visiting one of our registered branches:
- Go to our Health Insurance page.
- Select who you wish to purchase medical insurance for - Self, Spouse, Children (Son or Daughter) or Parents (Father or Mother).
- Once you have made your selection, click on ‘Get Plan’.
- Provide the necessary information and details. Based on your input, we will suggest the plans that best meet your needs.
- Choose the ideal sum insured from the drop-down. Your premium will be calculated and displayed based on your chosen coverage.
- You can compare the varied plans we have displayed and choose the one that meets your insurance and budget considerations.
- Once you have selected the right medical insurance plan, click on ‘Buy Now’.
- Our insurance experts will get in touch with you for further guidance.
Once you purchase the policy and successfully make the policy payment, we will send a copy of your policy document to your registered email ID and WhatsApp.
- Use our online Branch Locator to find a Tata AIG branch closest to you.
- Visit us at the nearest branch and convey that you need to buy a health insurance plan.
- One of our insurance experts will assist you with the purchase by understanding your requirements and explaining the different plans available.
- You can compare, ask queries and choose a plan that suits your needs.
- Fill out the relevant application form and attach the necessary documents.
- Submit the duly filled and signed application, with the documents, at the counter.
- Pay the premium.
Upon successful verification of the application, we will send you the policy documents.
Documents Required to Buy Tata AIG Health Insurance
Submit the following documents to buy a medical insurance plan from Tata AIG:
1.Identity Proof 2. Address Proof 3. Proof of Age 4. Proof of Income 5. Recent Colour Photographs 6. Documents/Medical Reports related to medical history, if any 7. Any other documents as deemed relevant (will be decided on a case-by-case basis)
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Frequently Asked Question
How can liver cirrhosis be detected?
Physical examination of signs of liver cirrhosis, blood work, imaging and biopsy are a few ways in which doctors can diagnose the condition.
Can you get liver cirrhosis even if you don’t consume alcohol?
While excessive alcohol consumption and alcoholic fatty liver are the leading and popular liver cirrhosis causes, there is a wide range of non-alcoholic causes of cirrhosis. Liver scarring caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis, obesity, biliary atresia, cystic fibrosis, etc., can lead to liver cirrhosis.
Is liver cirrhosis hereditary?
No, liver cirrhosis in itself is not a hereditary condition. However, certain liver diseases or health conditions that can cause liver damage and subsequent liver cirrhosis are hereditary.
Is there a cure for liver cirrhosis?
There is no exact cure for liver cirrhosis. However, timely diagnosis, quality treatment and lifestyle changes can help with the management and control of symptoms and prevent further worsening of the condition.