What is Cirrhosis of Liver?
Cirrhosis is a liver condition, in which the healthy liver tissue is replaced by scarred non-functional tissue, and this condition is irreversible. Cirrhosis is a chronic condition that stops the liver from functioning normally. Cirrhosis is sometimes also referred to as end-stage liver disease as it only develops in succession to other stages such as steatohepatitis and alcoholic hepatitis.
What are the Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis?
- Tiredness and weakness
- Feeling sick(nausea)
- Appetite decreasing, leading to weight loss
- Red patches on your palm
- Spider-like blood vessels are visible on your skin (spider angiomas) above waist level.
If cirrhosis progresses and goes untreated some further symptoms may be visible:
- Yellowish discoloration of skin and whites of the eye(jaundice)
- High temperature and shivering
- Vomiting blood
- Itchy skin
- A painful swollen tummy from a built-up of fluid (ascites)
- Bleeding or bruising easily
- Swelling of your legs, ankles, and feet(peripheral oedema)
- Personality changes, confusion, memory loss, or hallucinations.
- Abnormal periods (in women)
- Enlarged breasts (in men)
What are the Causes of Liver Cirrhosis?
Causes of cirrhosis of the liver are the same as those of alcoholic hepatitis, but these causes are severe enough to overcome the ability of the liver to heal itself. The liver loses its capability to heal when the insult to the liver is repeated such as alcoholism and chronic infection. Apart from alcoholism and chronic infection one more cause of cirrhosis is NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). NAFLD is again a liver condition in which the liver becomes inflamed due to excessive build-up of fat in its cells.
Is Liver Cirrhosis Curable?
Though liver cirrhosis is not curable, there are ways available to manage the symptoms and stop the condition from getting worse.
How is Liver Cirrhosis Treated?
There is no particular medication available to cure cirrhosis. Treatment mainly involves lifestyle changes such as :
- Quitting alcohol
- Quitting smoking
- Losing weight if you weigh more than your BMI allows you
- Dietary changes and cutting down on salts
Apart from lifestyle changes the treatment for liver cirrhosis may include:
- Diuretics are used in combination with low-salt diet to reduce oedema (swelling) in your body. As the cirrhosis progresses there may occur a fluid-built in your tummy(ascites) or in your ankles and legs (peripheral oedema). Diuretics such as Spironolactone and Furosemide are given.
- Antibiotics: if the fluid in your tummy becomes infected you may need antibiotics. In severe cases, fluid may need to be drained out with the help of a syringe.
- Medicine to help with high blood pressure: like beta blockers and calcium channel blockers.
If cirrhosis is not stopped and keeps on progressing then a liver transplant is the only option left to save the life of a patient.
In the treatment of liver cirrhosis rehabilitation centers may benefit to a great extent. Medical and surgical treatments for liver cirrhosis have limited success if the patient remains alcohol dependent (continues to drink). Throughout the world persistence of alcohol intake is a risk factor for decompensated cirrhosis and its complications. These patients even can’t be given anti-craving medicine because of the concern they might worsen the liver disease. Among the approved drugs disulfiram should be avoided as it is known to cause hepatotoxicity. Naltrexone is also reported to have drug-related hepatic injury. Although acamprosate has a better safety profile due to the absence of liver metabolism, no trials with acamprosate in alcohol-dependent patients with cirrhosis have been conducted. In summary, it was recommended not to prescribe disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate in alcohol-dependent patients with cirrhosis due to potential side effects.
Brief motivational interventions or psychosocial approach becomes an essential component of treatment for such patients. At this point, if your treating doctor feels the need, he may refer you to a rehabilitation or alcohol de-addiction centre. Or taken the need you may contact such a rehabilitation center.
Rehabilitation centres will not only help with alcohol detoxification, but they will also help with the management of the symptoms of liver cirrhosis. Tulasi Healthcare de-addiction Centre cares about the patient’s complete well-being since we use a holistic approach to treatment.
All aspects of health are considered, including the patient’s emotional, physical, social, and spiritual well-being. We provide CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), motivation enhancement therapy, and family therapy or couple counseling as brief interventions for curing alcohol-dependent patients with cirrhosis. For this purpose, we have a dedicated team of doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and gastroenterologists (on call). For more information call us at 8800000255 or mail us at [email protected].