The liver is a large organ and is part of the digestive system. It takes on many jobs such as making bile to help digest food, filters poisons from the blood, breaks down alcohol and other drugs and it also controls the amounts of sugar, fat, and protein in the bloodstream.
A person who has cirrhosis has scar tissue that has replaced the healthy tissue in their liver. It is this scare tissue that prevents the liver from working correctly. For example, the liver may no longer produce the clotting factors which can lead to bruising and bleeding.
There is no cure for cirrhosis, treatment will depend on the cause and the extent of the liver damage. The scarring of the liver that has already occurred cannot be repaired. However, treatment can often prevent or delay further damage to the liver. Liver cirrhosis treatment includes regular doctor visits, lifestyle changes and proper medication of cirrhosis. Occasionally surgery may be needed if there are complications from cirrhosis.
No one really likes to have to make changes to their lifestyle. We get into a routine that is comfortable and satisfying. Unfortunately, we often don’t realize how unhealthy our lifestyle is until our body begins sending us distress signals. To treat cirrhosis of the liver, the following are some of the changes you may need to make.
- Completely quit drinking alcohol
- Have a discussion with your doctor about all the medications you take. This includes Tylenol, ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). These medicines could increase the risk of damage to the liver
- Follow a low sodium diet. Reducing the amount of sodium can help prevent fluids from building up in your body.
- Make sure you are immunized against hepatitis A and B as well as influenza and pneumococcus.
- If you are overweight, losing the weight may help you to become healthier and assist the liver in controlling blood sugar levels.
There are also numerous medications that may slow the progression of some types of cirrhosis and help treat cirrhosis of the liver. For example, those with biliary cirrhosis may never experience sypmtoms if it is treated early. Other medications can aid in relieving some of the symptoms associaciated with cirrhosis such as fatigue, itching, and pain. Often nutritional supplements are prescribed to aid in malnutrition that is asscoiciated with cirrhosis.
In order to provide the best treatment for cirrhosis of the liver, it is important to work closely with your doctor. Sometimes a problem may become severe before symptoms even begin to appear and it is important to address these problems promptly. Some complications include, hypertension, or elevated blood pressure, infections increased risk of liver cancer and a build up of toxins in the body due to poor liver function. In addition to regular checkups, the doctor will order lab tests and screen for enlarged veins to ensure there is no bleeding in the esophagus or stomach.
With proper care and attention, cirrhosis of the liver can be treated and managed in such a way that severe complications do not arise. By properly treating cirrhosis at an early stage, you can reduce or possibly eliminate any complications caused by cirrhosis.