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Liver Disease- Alcohol enemy number one

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th July 2010 03:00 AM

CIRRHOSIS is a condition in which the liver slowly deteriorates and malfunctions due to chronic injury.
Scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue, partially blocking the flow of blood through the liver and impairing the liver’s ability to:

CIRRHOSIS is a condition in which the liver slowly deteriorates and malfunctions due to chronic injury.
Scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue, partially blocking the flow of blood through the liver and impairing the liver’s ability to:

CIRRHOSIS is a condition in which the liver slowly deteriorates and malfunctions due to chronic injury.
Scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue, partially blocking the flow of blood through the liver and impairing the liver’s ability to:

Control infections
Remove bacteria and toxins from the blood. Toxins eventually accumulate in the brain, decreasing mental function and causing coma

Process nutrients, hormones and drugs. When this occurs, medications build up in the body, causing a person to be more sensitive to medications and their side effects

Make proteins that regulate blood clotting so, a person will bruise or bleed easily
Produce bile to help absorb fats — including cholesterol — and fat-soluble vitamins

A healthy liver is able to regenerate most of its own cells when they become damaged.

Symptoms
Many people have no symptoms in the early stages. However, as the disease progresses, a person may experience weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pain and bloating when fluid accumulates in the abdomen. Other symptoms are itching and having spiderlike blood vessels on the skin.

Complications
When liver damage progresses to an advanced stage, fluid collects in the legs (oedema) and in the abdomen (ascites), which can lead to a serious infection.
Cirrhosis slows the normal flow of blood, which increases the pressure in the portal vein.

Portal hypertension may cause enlarged blood vessels in the esophagus or the stomach. These vessels are more likely to burst due to thin walls and increased pressure, causing bleeding in the esophagus or upper stomach.

The spleen frequently enlarges and holds white blood cells and platelets, reducing the numbers of these cells in the blood.

Jaundice occurs when the diseased liver does not remove enough bilirubin (the pigment that gives bile its reddish-yellow colour) from the blood, causing yellowing of the skin and the eyes and darkening of urine.

Cirrhosis causes resistance to insulin — a hormone produced by the pancreas that enables the body to use glucose as energy. With insulin resistance, excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream causing Type II diabetes.

Cirrhosis can also cause liver cancer plus kidney and lung failure.

How it is diagnosed
The diagnosis is usually based on the presence of a risk factor such as alcohol use or obesity, and is confirmed by physical examination, blood tests and imaging. The liver may feel hard or enlarged.

Treating cirrhosis
Treatment is aimed at slowing the progression of scar tissue in the liver and prevent or treat the complications.
A healthy diet is important and a sodium-restricted diet is recommended.

To improve nutrition, the doctor may add a liquid supplement taken by mouth or through a nasogastric tube (a tiny tube inserted through the nose and throat that reaches into the stomach).

A doctor should be consulted before taking any medications.
A liver transplant is considered when complications cannot be controlled by treatment.

Causes of cirrhosis?
Heavy alcohol consumption and chronic Hepatitis C are the commonest causes.
Obesity is becoming a common cause, either as the sole cause or in combination with alcohol or hepatitis.

The amount of alcohol it takes to damage the liver varies from person to person. For women, consuming two to three drinks per day and for men, three to four drinks per day, can lead to liver damage and cirrhosis.

Chronic Hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus is a liver infection that is spread by contact with an infected person’s blood. Chronic hepatitis C causes inflammation and damage to the liver.

hronic Hepatitis B and D
The hepatitis B virus is a liver infection that is spread by contact with an infected person’s blood, semen or other body fluid.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Fat builds up in the liver and eventually causes cirrhosis. This condition is associated with obesity, diabetes, protein malnutrition and coronary artery disease.

Bile duct diseases
Several diseases can damage the ducts that carry bile from the liver, causing bile to back up in the liver and leading to cirrhosis.

Drugs and toxins
Other causes of cirrhosis include drug reactions, prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals, parasitic infections and repeated bouts of heart failure with liver congestion.

Online sources

Liver Disease- Alcohol enemy number one

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