This is a
liver disease characterised by a gradual annihilation of the liver cells. These cells are
progressively replaced with fibrous tissue, which then leads to hardening.
What to look for
Usually no symptoms appear
until the disease has entered the late stages as the disease tends to come on gradually.
When they occur, symptoms can include:
nausea, vomiting, and loss
unusual gain or loss of
yellow coloration of the
skin and eyes (see Jaundice).
bloody, black stools, or
unusually light-colored stools.
vomiting of blood.
swollen feet or legs.
sleep disturbances and
fatigue or loss of stamina.
enlarged breasts in men.
loss of sex drive and menstrual problems in women.
spider like blood vessels
on chest and shoulders.
in severe cases, mental
With Cirrhosis, the liver
eventually loses ability to function as required. With severe damage, the patient cannot
function mentally and coma and possibly death can result. As well as this, because the
blood cannot flow through the liver due to the scarring, it collects in the veins and they
may burst under the enormous pressure. In some cases this pressure becomes so great that
the vessels rupture.
Once the liver is damaged
through cirrhosis, it cannot be cured except through a liver transplant. It can often be
helped in the early stages though.
The wellness of the liver is
important as it has many duties to perform for the proper functioning of the body. The
liver is the largest of the body organs and performs the following essential functions-
detoxifies and rids the
body of harmful chemicals, alcohol, caffeine by acting like a filter.
produces bile which it
stores in the gall bladder. Bile is then released into the small intestine as needed to
help break down fatty foods.
regulates the composition
of the blood
traps old red blood cells
helps remove virus and
bacteria (it performs this function as part of the immune system).
With so many tasks to perform
it is essential to have a fully functioning and healthy liver however, it can still
function but not quiet as effectively. The liver possesses an amazing ability to repair
itself, especially if the cirrhosis is caught in the early stages and the causes of
its malfunction have been removed.
The parts of the liver that
are scarred will never be returned to normal. If the causes of cirrhosis are not removed
and more and more cells are affected, the rest of the healthy cells are left to do all the
work - this is where problems will become obvious. This is why it's important to identify
the underlying causes as soon as possible and begin taking steps to eliminate them.
The most common cause of
Cirrhosis is the excessive consumption of
alcohol over a
long period. Other possible causes include viruses, genetic deficiencies, prolonged
obstruction of bile flow, and long periods of exposure to drugs and other toxic
The link between alcohol and
cirrhosis is well documented. Studies show that while moderate drinking may actually help
prevent strokes and heart disease, heavy drinking has a clearly harmful effect on the
Excessive drinking almost
inevitably causes some liver damage, but it does not always lead to cirrhosis however the
liver can become inflamed. This only lasts for a week or two but can eventually lead to
Cirrhosis. Even light drinkers who go on a binge for several days can develop a condition
known as fatty liver which causes the cells of the liver to become swollen. This condition
can be painful and can cause the eyes to take on a yellow appearance.
is the next most common cause of cirrhosis after alcoholism the most frequent cause of
cirrhosis is hepatitis, which inflames the liver.
Treating the cause of
cirrhosis is the best way to recovery from this disease.
Remedies are dependant on the
cause of the disease and what stage it is up to. If alcohol is the cause of your cirrhosis
you must stop drinking immediately. If you continue to drink after you have been diagnosed
with cirrhosis, there is more chance of the condition becoming fatal.
Liver transplants are
available to people as a last resort and there are certain people who are not permitted to
undergo this operation. People whose cirrhosis is due to alcohol abuse must abstain from
alcohol for a period of time before this operation will be performed.
Chinese Medicine -
Various Chinese herbs, used in combination, may promote healthy liver function.
However, self-medication can be dangerous; remedies should be prescribed only by a
Herbal Therapy -
(Silybum marianum) is believed to
promote healthy liver function. However, consult a Professional before using this remedy.
Homoeopathic remedies, including Taraxacum officinale and Chelidonium majus, may help
improve the efficiency of healthy liver cells in cases of cirrhosis. Consult a
Professional for their proper use.
Good nutrition can help the
liver. Freshly squeezed juices from carrots, beetroot and celery, carrot and apple,
grapefruit and pear juice. Eat more leafy green vegetables, tossed salads including
cabbage rocket lettuce, dandelion and thistle leaves with a dressing of olive oil and
lemon juice. Alfalfa sprouts, beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts and all the range of leafy
Chinese and English spinachs.
Protein is needed for the
healthy functioning of the liver but it is important to monitor how much you are consuming
- too little is as bad as too much. Check with a doctor or nutritionist for the amount of
protein that's right for you.
Also check with your doctor
about the taking of high doses of vitamins as these can be harmful to your liver. (The
liver has to filter substances that are taken into the body).
Do not drink to excess and
if you have been diagnosed with Cirrhosis stop drinking immediately.
Avoid uncooked shellfish.
Avoid mixing alcohol and
Avoid exposure to
industrial chemicals, which can enter the bloodstream and cause liver damage.
Maintain a healthy diet.
Be careful to avoid
When to seek further