Cirrhosis of the liver

General Infomation
Definition: 

Cirrhosis of the liver is a condition in which the organ’s outer layers develop nodules and fibrous scar tissue in response to repeated toxic damage. These nodules and fibers disrupt the blood supply to remaining healthy tissue in the liver. Eventually, cirrhosis leads to a loss of the liver’s normal function.

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Symptoms: 

Signs and Symptoms Of Liver Cirrhosis

Early cirrhosis may produce no symptoms. It may be discovered during a routine physical or through a blood test given for some other reason.

The main symptoms of cirrhosis are-

1. Weight loss,
2. Nausea, vomiting,
3. Jaundice,
4. Weakness,
5. Stomach pain,
6. Varicose veins,
7. Constipation or diarrhea,
8. Generalized itching, and reddening of the palms of the hands.
9. Some people develop ascites, or abdominal swelling caused by fluid accumulation.

If untreated, cirrhosis can lead to a decline in brain function caused by toxins that would normally be disposed of by the liver. It could also cause kidney failure or hepatic coma, and cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer.

Causes & Complication
Causes: 

CAUSES AND COMPLICATIONS OF CIRRHOSIS OF THE LIVER

While cirrhosis can be a result of hepatitis C infection, malnutrition, or chronic inflammation the most common cause of cirrhosis is long term over consumption of alcohol. The amount and duration of alcohol abuse, rather than the type of alcoholic beverage consumed or the pattern of drinking (binge versus non-binge) determines the onset of cirrhosis. Women are more susceptible to this disease than men, probably because of differences in body weight and size.

Alcohol causes cirrhosis by overwhelming a key component of the livers detoxification system known as p450 enzymes that leads to increased damage from harmful free radicals, which can attack liver cells. This enzymes prevent liver tissue from efficiently using oxygen and increases the production of collagen, a substance that becomes fibrous scar tissue. It also increases the rate at which the liver converts alcohol into acetaldehyde, a chemical that damages proteins.

Conventional treatment is more supportive than curative. The idea is to reduce the livers workload as much as possible so that this resilient organ can repair itself, as long as too much tissue has not been destroyed. Standard treatment also addresses the symptoms and complications seen in cirrhosis. The secret to successful treatment, though, is helping the liver heal without activating the enzyme involved in cirrhosis development. Herbal medicine can accomplish this goal and can be used with conventional treatments. Be aware that some herbs may have a negative impact on the liver and /or interact negatively with conventional medicines. Always work with a qualified health care practitioner.

Beneficial herbs
1. Alfalfa – helps build a healthy digestive tract and is a good source for vitamin K, which is deficient in most people who suffer from cirrhosis.
Form and dosage
- Liquid or tablets; take as directed on the label.

2. Green tea – treats infections that cause or aggravate cirrhosis, including viral hepatitis.
Form and dosage
Catechin extract; take 240 mg 3 times daily. Or tea bag; prepared with 1 cup water; take 1 cup 3-5 times daily

3. Milk thistle - may be able to reverse cirrhosis.
Form and dosage
- Silymarin gel-cap; take 600 mg daily.

4. Schisandra – protects against progression of cirrhosis to liver cancer.
Form and dosage
- Capsules; take 1000 -2000 mg twice daily.

5. Soy lecithin – protects liver from damage by alcohol and other toxic chemicals.
Form and dosage
- Capsules; take 1500- 5000 mg daily.

6. Turmeric – slows rate at which alcohol is converted into a toxic form within the liver.
Form and dosage
- Curcumin tablets; take 250-500 mg twice daily, between meals.

Recommendations
• Eat two to three daily servings of dark-green, yellow, or orange vegetables for essential nutritional support.

Eat a low-protein diet to avoid putting extra stress on the liver. The process of digestive protein produces ammonia, which can build up and cause serious health problems.

Eat the right kinds of fats in moderate amounts fat calories should total at least 10% but no more than 20 % of the diet. Fish oils (except for cold –liver oil) seeds, and nuts are the best sources of essential fatty acids, which are needed for cell protection. On the other hand, corn oil, palm oil, margarine, and lard all fuel a biochemical process that creates inflammation in the liver. These should be avoided.

Drink grape juice, which contains a substance that can decrease the enzymatic conversion of many potential toxins to toxic forms by the liver by 30 %.( avoid grapefruit juice, however, if you are taking a calcium channel blocker for high blood pressure or- although this is unlikely in cirrhosis- if your doctor has given you any kind of anticoagulant drugs). Red chilli pepper also contains a similar compound.

Limit your intake of certain types of fish –haddock, bluefish, salmon, and sardines- to a maximum of two servings a weeks. Do not eat raw or under cooked seafood. A damaged liver cannot handle the amount of vitamin A in these foods.

Avoid alcohol in all forms. This includes the alcohol found in some conventional medication and in herbal tinctures.

Visit the doctor for regular blood tests. These will show how the liver is healing.

Considerations
• People with cirrhosis who continue to drink are much worse off if they also consume a high fat diet. The combination of excessive dietary fat and alcohol leads to the development of fibrous tissue into the liver.

• Be careful not to over eat. Over eating wears down the liver so that it may not be able to do its job as well as it should.

For comprehensive treatment from a specialist. Contact Dr Judah via this phone. +254720760419

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By Austine on 17 September 2019

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