What is liver Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is a medical condition where the healthy tissue of the liver is replaced by scar tissues. This makes it difficult for the liver to function properly. The scar tissue slows down the processing of natural toxins, drugs, hormones and nutrients. This occurs due to the blockage of the flow of blood through the liver. It can also slow down the manufacturing of proteins made by the liver. It can even cause death if not treated on time.
What are the 4 stages of Cirrhosis of the liver?
Cirrhosis itself is a major liver disease, it's further stages include:
- Stage 1:
Also known as the compensated Cirrhosis, one may have mild symptoms with no medical complications. Since it involves very little scarring of the liver, it is easy to control at this stage.
- Stage 2:
The scarring and other symptoms begin to escalate. One may see additional symptoms like varices and hypertension.
- Stage 3:
Also known as decompensated Cirrhosis. This stage involves swelling and extensive scarring in the liver due to escalating symptoms which further result in serious liver damage and even failure.
- Stage 4:
This is the end stage of liver disease in which the liver is completely damaged making a life-threatening situation for the patient. In this case, one has to undergo a liver transplant.
What are the first signs of liver cirrhosis ?
Cirrhosis is a complexity of numerous liver ailments wherein loss of liver cells and irreversible scarring of the liver will happen. Even though there are many causes for liver cirrhosis, alcohol overuse and viral hepatitis B and C are the main cause of this condition. Cirrhosis does not show any signs until the liver damage is extensive.
The first signs of liver cirrhosis are weight loss, itchy skin, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, bruising and bleeding, yellow discoloration in the eye and skin (jaundice), ascites, spiderlike blood vessels on the skin, absence or loss of periods irrespective of menopause in women, sexual libido, testicular atrophy, and gynecomastia in men, drowsiness, slurred speech.
What does Cirrhosis pain feel like?
At the initial stage, one may feel a dull pain in the upper right abdomen. As the condition gets worse the pain starts to increase. From dull, it becomes sharp and stabbing under your ribs which is followed by abdominal swelling and enlargement of the spleen.
What causes liver Cirrhosis?
Liver Cirrhosis is most commonly caused due to alcohol abuse, fatty liver and hepatitis C. Other causes of Cirrhosis in the liver include:
- Fatty liver which is associated with diabetes and obesity.
- Acute viral infections of the liver such as hepatitis D, B and C. This is somewhat rare.
- Blockage of the bile which transfers bile to the intestines. Bile is generally formed in the liver and it helps in digesting food. Blockage of the bile duct can also be caused due to bilary atresia. In this condition, the bile ducts are damaged or absent which causes the bile to stay in the liver. This condition usually affects babies.
- Continuous bouts of heart failure causing fluid to build up in the liver.
- Diseases such as cystic fibrosis, glycogen storage disease (inability of the body to process glycogen into sugar), alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency (absence of a certain enzyme in the liver).
- Diseases and disorders which are caused by hemochromatosis (excessive iron content is deposited in the liver and other vital organs), Wilson’s disease (unusual storage of copper inside the liver) and abnormal liver functioning.
- Rare factors like parasitic infections, exposure to environmental toxins and reaction to certain prescription drugs can also contribute to Cirrhosis.
Can you live with Cirrhosis if you stop drinking?
Since there is no cure for Cirrhosis, any diet restrictions or alteration will not lead to complete healing, but they may aid you to lower the possibility of further medical complications.
Avoiding alcohol may stop further damage to the liver which can increase your life expectancy up to 50% ( or 5 more years).
Can the liver regenerate after Cirrhosis?
Even though the liver is one of the most regenerative organs in the human body, its regenerating efficiency decreases when a person is suffering from Cirrhosis.
In the early stages, one may achieve a healthy liver with the help of medical treatment, but in later stages its chances become bleak.
Can someone with Cirrhosis drink alcohol?
No, it is advisable to avoid alcohol in order to prevent any further complications.
How is Cirrhosis diagnosed?
- Physical exam- The doctor usually performs a physical exam to see how large your liver is and observes how your liver feels. A liver affected by Cirrhosis might feel irregular and bumpy instead of smooth.
- CT scan and ultrasound- Tests like ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT scan) and radioisotope scan is performed to analyze Cirrhosis.
- Biopsy- During a biopsy, a tissue from the liver is taken and tested for diagnosing Cirrhosis of the liver.
- Surgery- This is usually performed in severe cases, a laparoscope is inserted through an incision inside the abdomen. After the doctor gets an entire view of the liver he performs the surgery.
What is the best treatment for liver cirrhosis?
In spite of the fact that there is no solution for cirrhosis, the medicines can defer its encouraging and reduction of the liver cell harm in this manner diminish inconveniences.
- If the cirrhosis caused by alcohol abuse, the person should refrain from drinking alcohol
- If autoimmune disease is the cause of cirrhosis, then the patient will be recommended for the proper treatment for cirrhosis and for the underlying disease.
- Medications may help to control the cirrhosis symptoms.
- Fluid retention and ascites are well treated by decreasing the salt content in the diet. Diuretics are prescribed to remove excess fluid and prevent edema from the relapse.
- Cirrhosis mental confusion state can be improved with the help of diet and drug therapies. Say, for example, laxatives such as lactulose may be given for toxins absorption.
- Severe liver cirrhosis people may need to have a liver transplant.
Can Cirrhosis be cured?
No, there is no cure for Cirrhosis till now. But today's advanced medical researchers have developed certain methods, medications, and therapy that may help an individual to manage the disease and lower the possibility of life-threatening liver complications.
What can you not eat with Cirrhosis of the liver?
Under any medical condition, it is important to have an all-rounder meal enriched with essential vitamins and minerals in order to achieve optimal health. Although some foods may be more harmful than you, then good. Here is the list of food items that can be harmful to the liver in case of Cirrhosis:
- Baked Food Items - Cookies, cakes, bread.
- Sweet carbonated drinks.
- Fast Food.
- Fried foods.
- High sodium foods.
- Red Meat.
- Fructose-rich fruits.
What are the home remedies for liver cirrhosis?
- Apple cider vinegar aids in promoting fat metabolism. It also works as an excellent cleaning agent for the liver. Drink the concoction of a cup of water with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and one tablespoon of honey to see the best results.
- Milk thistle contains silymarin which is an active anti-oxidants to decrease the damage of liver cells caused by liver cirrhosis. Crush a small amount of milk thistle seeds and boil them in clean water until the milk thistle essence is extracted into the water. Once it has come down to hand-hot, drink this extraction to keep your liver healthy and prevent it from further damage.
- Spinach is an abundant source of irons. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene. Wash two carrots and a considerable amount of spinach leaves. Grind them into a fine paste. Strain them until the juice collects and drink it to attain relief from the cirrhosis symptoms.
- Consume two tablespoons of papaya juice regularly by adding two spoons of lemon juice. Take it 3-4 times a day to see the improvement.
Summary: Cirrhosis can be described as a medical condition that can cause liver scarring. Even though there is no cure for it, there are various methods by which one can suppress its adverse effects.