Scarring of the liver tissue is known as liver cirrhosis, and it often indicates chronic damage to the organ. This article relates some important facts regarding the treatment options for liver cirrhosis.
Liver cirrhosis refers to the scarring of liver tissue, owing to several diseases and conditions including hepatitis, cystic fibrosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, galactosemia, hemochromatosis, and schistosomiasis. Other causes include chronic alcohol abuse, cystic fibrosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, biliary atresia, glycogen storage disease, and Wilson’s disease.
Generally, liver cirrhosis is asymptomatic in the early stages. As the condition worsens, it may be manifested through poor appetite, weight loss, fatigue, nausea, swelling in legs, easy bruising and bleeding, and accumulation of fluid in the abdomen.
Usually, mild cases do not require any major form of treatment, as the liver itself can replace the scarred tissue, without any alteration in its functions. However, in severe cases, excessive scarring leads to loss of liver function or liver failure.
The precise set of treatment options depends on the underlying cause of the condition.
» In case of alcoholic liver cirrhosis, the treatment involves the patient to shun drinking. If the patient is not being able to cope with the withdrawal symptoms, then he/she may be recommended to join a treatment program for alcohol addiction.
» In case of hepatitis, anti-inflammatory medicines are prescribed to control tissue damage.
» Complication such as ascites (accumulation of serous fluid in peritoneal cavity) or edema (swelling from excessive accumulation of watery fluid in cells) are treated by the administration of water pills and a low-sodium diet.
» In case of portal hypertension (high blood pressure in the portal veins around the liver), blood pressure medication may be prescribed.
» Antibiotic treatment is recommended if an infection is detected, or to prevent infection in the damaged tissues.
» In severe cases, the individual is prone to developing complications like liver cancer, hepatic encephalopathy (high levels of toxins in the blood), etc. Hence, such patients are advised to undergo periodic blood tests to assess liver function, and detect the signs of cancer. Liver resection surgery is recommended to remove the cancerous tissue, if any.
» In individuals where liver function cannot be restored liver transplant surgery is recommended. Here, the damaged liver is replaced with healthy liver from a deceased individual, or with a part of healthy liver obtained from a living donor.
Patient suffering from liver cirrhosis may resort to some self-care measures in order to deal with the symptoms, and prevent further damage. These include the consumption of plenty of fruits and green vegetables, but limited intake of sodium. Most important of all is to avoid alcohol, as it is one of the leading causes for liver cirrhosis. Patients must also be careful regarding the use of over-the-counter medication, because a diseased liver cannot removed drugs effectively from the body. As a result, the individual may suffer from drug toxicity and/or other adverse effects.
Liver cirrhosis can be prevented by following a healthy diet, abstaining from alcohol abuse, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing the risks of hepatitis and other medical conditions.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.