Ascites, sometimes called vodka stomach, is not a separate disease, but a complication of a number of independent diseases. And almost all of them are extremely dangerous for health and life. How do they diagnose abdominal ascites, what causes it and whether it can be cured?
Ascites: a disease or a symptom?
A pathological accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity is called ascites. A small amount of ascites is always present in the abdominal cavity. This fluid constantly moves into lymphatic vessels, and its place is new, and it is a completely natural process. But with some disorders in the body, this fluid either starts to be produced in excess or it stops being absorbed. As a result, it gradually accumulates and begins to pressure the internal organs, impairing their functioning.
Causes of ascites
The list of diseases and violations in which ascites can occur is quite impressive. Among them: liver cirrhosis; some cancers causing peritoneal metastases; tuberculosis; peritonitis (bacterial, tuberculosis, mycotic, parasitic); Badda Chiari syndrome and disease;
kidney disease, including renal failure of various genesis; gastrointestinal diseases: acute pancreatitis or exacerbation of chronic pancreatitis, Whipple’s disease; heart failure; endometriosis, cysts and ovarian tumors; kidney disease; malnutrition and exhaustion;
endocrine system diseases.
However, if a person is diagnosed with abdominal ascites, liver cirrhosis (the cause of 81% of cases of ascites), cancer (10% of cases), heart failure (3% of cases) are usually the first on suspicion in doctors. Sometimes there are mixed cases – liver cirrhosis in combination with another pathology (5%). Such causes as tuberculosis, pancreatic diseases and others do not exceed 1% in total.
In 60% of patients within ten years from the discovery of compensated cirrhosis of the liver such a complication as swelling-ascitic syndrome (ascites) develops. Its appearance is a marker of adverse development of the disease: within the first year from the moment of clinical detection of ascites the mortality rate is close to 40%, five-year survival rate is less than 50%. Of course, ascites occurs not in all people suffering from the above diseases. However, there are risk factors that increase the chances of ascites development: alcoholism, drug addiction, hepatitis, obesity and high cholesterol levels, as well as diabetes mellitus.
Signs of pathology
Abdominal ascites most often develop gradually over many months, and therefore most patients do not pay attention to it for a very long time. Often, people just think that they are gaining weight. In the early stages, it is really difficult to notice ascites: you need to collect at least a liter of fluid. Only then the typical symptoms of abdominal ascites begin to appear: abdominal pain, flatulence, burp and heartburn, breathing difficulties, swelling of the legs. As the volume of fluid increases, the abdomen also increases, and soon it becomes difficult for the person to bend. The stomach takes the form of a ball, stretching and dilated veins may appear.
But in order to suspect ascites, there are few external signs – you should consult with a doctor.