A Guide to Living Healthy: Preventing Cirrhosis of the Liver

 

Liver cirrhosis is one of the common disease occurrences of this generation. All these non-stop partying, drinking, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise are causing damage to our liver. Some of the most common causes of the disease are excessive or chronic abuse of alcoholic beverages, having Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, and fatty liver. There are some important things you should take note of on how to prevent cirrhosis of the liver, but first, you need to know certain aspects of the disease.

Cirrhosis of the liver is a slow-progressing disease caused by scar or keloid tissue replacing the healthy liver tissue. Damages or tears brought about by the causing factors mentioned above result in natural self-healing. The result is the presence of scar tissue. Scar tissue does not contribute anything to the overall work or function of the liver, on the other hand, it causes reduced or poor blood circulation. The scar tissue blocks the route of the blood, thus, slowing the distribution process of hormones, drugs, nutrients and removal of bodily wastes or toxins.

People with the disease at early stages show no visible signs and symptoms. In the late phases of the illness, a person will exhibit definite signs where some of which may or may not be present in others. Cases vary and depend if a person has a pre-existing illness or complication which could mimic, mask, or exacerbate symptoms. Diagnosis and treatment are not a “one size fits all” situation.


Signs and Symptoms

Worst case scenario, a higher degree of liver cirrhosis may or may not exhibit the signs and symptoms which include the following:

  • Jaundice or the yellow discoloration of the eyes and skin.
  • Ascites where fluid starts to accumulate in the peritoneal or abdominal cavity.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy – This is a decline in the brain’s functionality. It may involve confusion, slurred speech and drowsiness.
  • Spider-like blood vessels branch out or start to show on your skin.
  • Skin is easily bruised or bleeds.
  • Skin itchiness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Redness all over your hands or
  • Breast enlargement in women.
  • Testicular atrophy in men. Cells start to degenerate in the area resulting in shrinkage of the testes and loss of function.
  • Swelling of the legs.

It is important that when a number or majority of these signs and symptoms are present in your body, you must never hesitate to rush an appointment with your doctor. Delaying medical attention or treatment will end in irreversible damage to different organs of your body.

Major Causes

  • Excessive alcohol intake or abuse.
  • Viral Hepatitis B and C.
  • Fatty liver disease or hepatic steatosis is the accumulation of fat in the liver. It can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic and can be difficult to distinguish.

Other Causes

  • Cystic fibrosis.
  • In-born bile duct deformity.
  • Digestive disorders.
  • Bile duct destruction.
  • Obstruction of the bile
  • Accumulated copper minerals in the liver.

Prevention of Liver Cirrhosis

Preventive measures or steps need commitment. As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.”  Doing so, it could significantly reduce the risk of liver cirrhosis.

1. Eating Healthy and Appropriate Diet

Eating plant-based food—a diet full of green vegetables and fruits can improve your internal organs’ health and performance, and that includes the liver. It contains nutrients and plenty of fibers and natural detoxifying agents that are highly beneficial to the body.

As mentioned, one of the causes of cirrhosis is fatty liver, and reducing high intake of fatty and greasy food can make a difference. Also, some studies made prove that caffeine can protect you against liver cancer.

2. Maintaining Proper Weight

Relating to fat, doing daily exercise routines can burn excess fats that start to accumulate in different parts of your body. Exercise also helps reduce the risk of the disease from developing.

Liver cirrhosis is common in fat or obese people. Talk to your physician or check out charts for the recommended body weight according to height. You can also seek fitness experts and trainers about different weight loss plans applicable to you and for their advice.

3. Refraining from Alcohol

Having an occasional sip of alcohol is okay. A little bit would probably do you good but excessive or abusive intake of such can result in liver damage and the increased risk of liver cirrhosis.

If you have other types of liver disease, ask your physician if occasional drinking can do you no harm. For someone who already has liver cirrhosis, common sense dictates zero-alcohol intake. Imbibing alcohol will worsen your condition.

4. Reducing Hepatitis Risk

A factor that can cause liver cirrhosis is hepatitis B and C. The disease is transmitted through direct contact with the blood of an infected person and exchange of bodily fluids such as saliva through kissing or using an infected person’s utensils or eating the same food. Exchange of bodily fluids through intercourse can also spread the diseases.

5. Changing Your Lifestyle

A person with liver cirrhosis will need to implement a change of lifestyle. Alcohol is now off the list. Refrain from eating foods with high salt content. Sodium triggers your body to retain fluids which could worsen some of your symptoms such as the accumulation of fluids in the peritoneal area and your legs. From here on then, you need to start a low- or non-sodium diet.

Liver cirrhosis makes you lose your appetite. You need to do everything to maintain proper nutrition and diet. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Not eating and drinking right can cause malnutrition and extreme weight loss which could trigger other complications.


Summary

Choosing between curative and preventive, most people would rather learn how to prevent cirrhosis of the liver than risk getting one and then curing themselves. The process of curing the disease is not at all 100%, it’s costly, too. There is a chance your liver may not respond well to treatments. Genetics, pre-existing conditions and complications affect treatment. Although there is a considerable advancement in the field of medical science, there’s no denying the risk that failure happens.

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