Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Causes and Treatments for Cirrhosis of the Liver
Causes and Treatments for Cirrhosis of the Liver

Weighing about 3 pounds, the liver is the largest solid organ in our body. The different essential functions it conducts in the body include:

●Creating blood proteins that helps in the transport of oxygen, blood clotting and proper functioning of the immune system.

●It passes on certain nutrients into the blood, while conserving excess nutrients.
Facilitates the storing of sugar (glucose) by the body as glycogen.

●It secretes bile, which is essential for the digestion of food.

●Frees the body from harmful toxins in the blood like drugs and alcohol.

●It manufactures cholesterol and breaks down saturated fats.

Cirrhosis is a disease, where deterioration in the functioning of the liver takes place over a period of time, as the normal healthy tissues of the liver are replaced by scarred tissues. Due to the scarred tissues, there is an impaired flow of blood in the liver and proper processing of nutrients, drugs, hormones, and naturally produced toxins are inhibited. Production of essential components for the body like protein also wanes. The National Institute of Health estimates that cirrhosis rank 12th amongst the main reasons for death due to the disease.

Although in the United States, heavy drinking, hepatitis C, and fatty liver from the prime reasons of cirrhosis, there are also other factors that are responsible for it, which include:

●Fatty liver, which is associated with a diabetic and overweight condition.
●Chronic infection of the liver by viruses of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and even hepatitis D (a rare occurrence).
●The liver forms bile, which is essential for digestion of fats and is carried to the intestine through the bile duct.

So, any blockage in the bile duct would result in the accumulation of bile in the liver. In the case of babies, this may happen when the bile duct is damaged or not even be not present. – a condition is known as biliary atresia. There may be inflammation, blockage or scarring in the bile duct due to primary biliary cirrhosis, which is a disease of the liver. The accumulation of fluid in the liver due to repeated bouts of cardiac failures.

Some hereditary diseases like:


●Cystic fibrosis.
●Glycogen storage diseases, in which the body is unable to process glycogen, a form of sugar that is converted to glucose and serves as a source of energy for the body.
●Alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency, an absence of a specific enzyme in the liver.
●Diseases caused by abnormal liver function, such as hemochromatosis, a condition in which excessive iron is absorbed and deposited into the liver and other organs, and Wilson’s disease, caused by the abnormal storage of copper in the liver.

Cirrhosis can also occur due to constant exposures to the toxin in the environment, as side-effects of medicines and infections due to exposures to plastics.

Although drinking the high amount of alcohol regularly damages the liver, it may not always lead to cirrhosis. But women, who drink the high amount of alcohol regularly and people already having hepatitis B or hepatitis C, have the higher risk of damage to the liver. The manifestation of symptoms of liver cirrhosis is dependent upon the stage of the disease. 

While any symptoms may not be discernible in the beginning, as the disease progresses, the following symptoms may develop:

●Lack of energy (fatigue) which may be debilitating
●Loss of appetite
●Weight loss or sudden weight gain
Bruises
●Yellowing of the skin or the whites of eyes (jaundice)
●Itchy skin
●Fluid retention (edema) and swelling in the ankles, legs, and abdomen (often an early sign)
●A brownish or orange tint to the urine
●Light colored stools
●Confusion, disorientation, personality changes
●Blood in the stool
●Fever
●Diagnosis of liver cirrhosis 

The diagnosis of the cirrhosis of the liver can be done in various ways –

Physical examination: – The physician looks into any change in the size and feel of the liver. When affected by cirrhosis the liver feels irregular and bumpy instead of smooth.

Blood test: – The disease can be diagnosed through types of blood tests.

Other tests: – Ultrasound, CT scans, and radio-isotopic liver/spleen scan also detects is also done.

Biopsy: – Biopsy of the liver.

Surgery: – The cirrhotic condition of the liver is also detected by the physical examination of the liver during surgery and through laparoscopy.

Problems due to cirrhosis of the liver


Variceal bleeding – Due to liver cirrhosis, variceal bleeding can occur due to portal hypertension or a condition of high pressure inside the portal vein – the large vessel through which blood passes from the digestive organs to the liver. The high pressure is created due to impaired blood flow in the liver. 

Other veins like those in esophagus and abdomen become enlarged (varies) due to the high pressure in the portal vein in order to bypass the blockage. In an acute condition, the varices rupture, resulting in hemorrhage and there is the formation of fluid in the abdomen.


Mental disorientation and debility (hepatic encephalopathy
The Prolonged cirrhotic condition of the liver may result in hepatic encephalopathy. The liver frees the body from the toxins. But when the liver is unable to perform properly, toxin get accumulated in the bloodstream, which causes mental disorientation and may even lead to coma.

Other serious problems arising due to liver cirrhosis include:


●Kidney failure
●Reduced oxygen in the blood
●Diabetes
●Changes in blood counts
●Increased risk of infections
●Excessive bleeding and bruising
●Breast enlargement in men
●Premature menopause
●Loss of muscle mass

At present, no permanent cure for cirrhosis is available. But with proper dietary adjustments and medicines, its progress can be stopped or delayed by reducing the damage to the cells of the liver. When the medicinal treatment doesn’t work, a liver transplant may be an option.


The treatment of cirrhosis of the liver 

The modes of treatments are related to the causes of liver cirrhosis.

●People who drink alcohol need to quit it to stop further damage to the liver.

●For liver cirrhosis caused due to hepatitis, steroids or antiviral drugs are used.

●The mode of treatment varies for cirrhosis of the liver due to autoimmune diseases like Wilson’s disease or hemochromatosis.

Medicines for liver cirrhosis 


Patients suffering from cirrhosis of the liver are advised to avoid salt in part and take drugs known as diuretics for the conditions of Edema (retention of fluid) and ascites (fluid in the abdomen). Laxatives like lactulose are used in order to absorb and flush out toxins from intestines, which improves the mental well-being of the patient. But in serious cases of liver cirrhosis, a liver transplant is necessary.

How to avoid cirrhosis of the liver 


The cirrhosis of the liver can be avoided in the following ways:

●Drink alcohol in moderation. Limit it to less than 2 drinks in a day. ●A single drink constitutes 5 oz glass of wine, 12 oz can of beer or one and a half part of hard liquor.

●Do not have unprotected sexual exposure with multiple partners.

●Avoid contacts with synthetic chemicals like pesticides and cleaning agents. Use protective gear, while using them.

●Take the hepatitis B vaccine.

●Take a low-fat diet with vitamins.

Causes and Treatments for Cirrhosis of the Liver



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