What Is Liver cirrhosis?
When the healthy liver cells are exposed to the continuous damage over an extended duration of time, it causes healthy tissues to get replaced by unhealthy, scarred tissues. This condition is commonly known as liver cirrhosis.
The liver becomes hard, and lumpy due to the scar tissues. After this condition, the liver starts failing. Because of the scar tissues, it gets difficult for the blood to pass through the large vein, which connects to the liver. This causes blood to back up in the large vein or the portal vein, which may lead to the blood to get in the spleen. Hence, damaging the function of the spleen as well.
Liver transplant is the only solution in the condition of liver cirrhosis. But, it can be controlled by controlling the factors causing liver cirrhosis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Liver cirrhosis?
Symptoms are not visible in liver cirrhosis unless the extensive liver damage. But, when symptoms occur, they can be as follows:
- Feeling of exhaustion or fatigue can be experienced.
- A person suffering from liver cirrhosis may frequently bleed from the nose.
- One may easily get bruised.
- Itchiness is felt in the skin.
- Eyes and skin become yellow in colour (jaundice).
- Fluid is accumulated in one’s abdomen. This condition is known as ascites.
- Loss of appetite: One does not feel like eating when suffering the liver cirrhosis.
- One’s body becomes weak.
- Feeling of nausea and vomiting may be witnessed.
- One’s legs may get swelled.
- Weight loss: One may lose a considerable amount of weight when suffering from liver cirrhosis.
- One can go through certain conditions like slurred speech, drowsiness, and confusion, which also known as hepatic encephalopathy.
- Formation of blood vessels underneath one’s skin, which looks like as a spider.
- One’s palms become red.
- Testicular atrophy may occur in men
- Men may experience breast enlargement.
What Are The Causes Of Liver cirrhosis?
Certain common factors that may cause liver cirrhosis can be as followed:
- Alcohol abuse for a long term
- Infections caused due to Hepatitis B and C
- Diseases caused due to fatty liver.
- Toxic metals.
- Diseases caused due to genetics.
Out of the above-mentioned causes hepatitis B and considered the major cause of liver cirrhosis. These causes are mentioned below in detail.
- Too much of alcohol intake: Liver breaks down toxins in addition to alcohol. And, when the quantity is too large, the liver has to over work resulting in the gradual damage of the liver cells.Long-term, heavy, and regular drinkers are at a higher risk of developing liver cirrhosis if compared to non-alcohol consumers. One who is drinking regularly for over past 10 years is more likely to develop liver cirrhosis.
- Generally, there are three stages of liver diseases. These liver disease stages are caused by alcohol consumption. These are as follows:
- Fatty liver: In this stage fat is developed on the liver.
- Alcoholic hepatitis: About 35% of the regular alcohol consumers establish alcoholic hepatitis. In this condition, liver cells tend to swell.
- Liver cirrhosis: Around 10% of regular and heavy drinkers gradually develop liver cirrhosis.
- Hepatitis: Hepatitis c is a blood borne disease in which liver can get damaged slowly leading to liver cirrhosis. Hepatitis C is the major factor of liver cirrhosis in North America, Western Europe, and various other areas of the world. Liver Cirrhosis may be caused by hepatitis D and B as well.
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH): Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis starts with the deposition of a high amount of fat in the liver, in the early stage. This deposited fat may cause scarring and inflammation of tissues, which results in liver cirrhosis eventually. People with high blood pressure, high blood-lipid, high blood sugar level, obesity are more prone to NASH
- Autoimmune hepatitis: An immune system of a person may attack the organs like liver that are in healthy conditions.This may lead to eventual development of liver cirrhosis.
- Certain genetic conditions.
- Hemochromatosis – Iron may get accumulated in the liver and other body parts.
- Wilson's disease - copper may get accumulated in the liver and other body parts.
- Blockage in the bile-ducts: Certain diseases and conditions like cancer of the pancreas, cancer of bile duct may block the bile-duct, which increases the risk of liver cirrhosis.
- Budd-Chiari syndrome: The blood vessels, which carry the blood from liver also known as hepatic veins develop a blood clot or thrombosis. This may lead to the enlargement of the liver and develops the collateral vessels.
A few other conditions and diseases, which may cause liver cirrhosis are as follows:
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis: In this disease, bile duct tends to harden and scarred.
- Galactosemia: It is an inability of a body to process the sugar present in the milk.
- Schistosomiasis: A parasite prevalently found in certain developing countries.
- Biliary atresia - Badly developed bile ducts in the babies.
- Glycogen storage disease: issues in vital energy release and storage for proper cell functioning.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Liver cirrhosis?
Prevention tips for liver cirrhosis to be followed are as follows:
- One must educate himself/herself about liver cancer and liver cirrhosis as both of these are fatal interlinked diseases. These diseases have a high rate of mortality, especially when diagnosed at the last stage.
- Consider taking three shots of hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis B vaccine provides above 90% shield against hepatitis B virus. This virus is the cause for 30% of all the liver cirrhosis cases and 53% of the primary liver cancer cases. Hepatitis B and c are avoidable diseases.
- One should keep his/her triglycerides, cholesterol, blood sugar level, and weight in control. As these factors may promote non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases that can turn into liver cirrhosis in 10-15% of the cases. One can get examination like ultrasound to get fatty liver diagnosed.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Liver cirrhosis?
Things that should be avoided when suffering from liver cirrhosis are as follows:
- Do not use used needles to inject drugs as needles could be contaminated. Used needles may cause diseases like hepatitis B and C, and HIV. Such diseases can be the factors that may induce liver cirrhosis.
- Do not over consume any ‘not recommended’ drugs. Even the intake of paracetamol in excessive quantity may lead to death, or acute liver failure or liver cirrhosis.
- Do not be ignorant to a long term jaundice in a newly born, as it may cause severe damage or scarring to the liver tissues.
- Do not smoke: one suffering from chronic liver cirrhosis must not smoke as it may provoke the symptoms and damage to the liver.
- Don’t consume iron supplements unless suggested by the doctor.Excessive iron may cause severe harm to the liver tissues, leading to liver cirrhosis.
What Are The Best Foods For Liver cirrhosis?
Certain foods to promote liver health and prevent liver cirrhosis are as follows:
- Organic food: Consuming organic food can be beneficial for liver, as these foods are almost chemical free. Hence, consuming organic food does not stress the liver by reducing its work of chemical elimination from the body, which prevents liver cirrhosis. Non-organic foods may comprise of synthetic chemicals and pesticides that cause load on one’s liver. An example of the organic foods can be any fruit and vegetable grown without using chemicals and pesticides.
- Walnuts and turmeric: Consumption of walnut and turmeric can help to cleanse the liver and helps to function it perfectly. Walnut consists of an element called I-arginine in high quantity, which helps in liver detoxification and improves the blood flow of the body. Another healthy food to maintain healthy liver is turmeric. Turmeric safeguards the liver from the damage caused by the toxic products. It can also recover the damaged cells of the liver, and boost the functioning of the bile. Hence, both turmeric and walnut should be considered including in one’s diet. Due to the benefits of walnut and turmeric for liver, chances of liver cirrhosis decreases to a great extent.
- Green tea: Green tea is one refreshing and hydrating drink that one must incorporate in the daily diet for a healthy living. It is packed with a number of benefits out of which healthy liver functioning is one of the benefits. Green tea is a natural detoxifier hence, helps to remove any harmful or toxic element from the liver. Also, green tea helps wipe out liver fat and make sure that the liver functions properly, which prevents the occurrence of liver cirrhosis.
- Fruits and their juices: There are lots of fruits that may help in cleaning the liver by eliminating the toxins from the body. Also, one can add fresh fruit juices to the diet for the liver detoxification. Some of the fruits that one must add in their diet to maintain a healthy liver are apples, grapefruits, oranges, and strawberries. Especially grape fruit contains a high amount of antioxidants that assist the liver to cleanse one’s body. These fruits and juices safeguard the liver tissue from scarring, therefore, prevents liver cirrhosis.
- Oils (organic): A few oils to consume for maintaining healthy liver are avocado, coconut, and olive oil. These oils are safe for liver hence, one must add these in salad dressings, and cooking. Certain seed oils like canola oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and corn oil must be avoided. As these oils have omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, which may cause stress to the liver.
- Lemon water: Vitamin C is one nutrient, which is known for its detoxifying, and cleansing properties. Lemon is rich vitamin C hence, helps in removing the toxins from one’s body. One can consume a glass of fresh lemon water daily, and can also add lemon to salads to boost the functioning of the liver and decrease the risk of liver cirrhosis.
- Garlic: Garlic contains selenium, and allicin, both of which helps to cleanse the liver. Also, reduces the chance of liver cell damage and liver cirrhosis.
- High calories and protein rich foods: Additional proteins and calories are required by liver cirrhosis patients because they may experience vomiting, or nausea, and loss of appetite, which may lead to loss of weight. Consuming frequent, smaller meals may aid to combat weight loss by restoring the proteins, calories, and the lost nutrients. One must consume plant based meat instead of meat based protein. Because meat base protein may provide stress to the liver. Few high calorie and protein foods that one may consume in liver cirrhosis are lentils, hemp seeds, chia seeds, quinoa, spirulina, and certain nuts like Brazil nuts, pistachios, cashew nuts, walnuts, and almonds.
What Are The Worst Foods For Liver cirrhosis?
Foods that must be certainly avoided to prevent liver cirrhosis are as follows:
- High sodium food: Salt is high in sodium so, should be avoided. Salt has water retaining property that may cause issues for the liver cirrhosis patients. One must not consume more than 2000 mg salt per day. One can cut on sodium by avoiding high salt containing foods, self-cooking, carefully reading labels on food items, cutting on fast-foods, and decreasing the red meat consumption. Few foods that are high in sodium content are pizza, pickles, and preserved foods.
- Alcoholic beverages: Alcohol may be one of the main causes of liver cirrhosis, hence consuming alcohol regularly, and heavily should be avoided. Some of the alcoholic beverages may be whiskey, beer, rum, and other cocktails.
- Fat containing foods: High-fat foods may worsen the symptoms of liver cirrhosis by contributing to the diseases linked with fatty liver. Fatty liver is one of the common causes of liver cirrhosis. Some of the fatty foods to avoid are high-fat dairy products (ice-cream, sour cream, cheese, butter, and full-fat milk.), tropical oil (cocoa butter, palm oil, and coconut oil), poultry skin, and dark chicken meat, and lard.
What Are The Medicines For Liver cirrhosis?
What Are The Tips To Manage Liver cirrhosis?
- A healthy weight should be maintained: Increase in weight may be a factor of fatty liver that may cause extreme cases of liver cirrhosis.
- Avoid infections: Liver Cirrhosis destroys the immune system of one’s body and makes it hard to deal with infections. Hence, one must take proper hygiene care to avoid infections.