March 14, 2019
How many times have you heard about detox diets? While some of them offer significant insights into keeping your body clean on the inside, it’s important to note that the liver is always working to filter toxins from the blood. The liver is the organ that determines which nutrients to keep within the body and which to eliminate through the bowels.
Cirrhosis is one of several conditions that is caused by liver damage. Due to the critical role the liver plays in keeping one healthy, it’s essential to deal with any damage to this important organ as early as possible.
What is Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is the last stage of long-term liver damage and is a leading cause of morbidity worldwide.
Cirrhosis is an illness that is characterized by scar tissue replacing the healthy cells in the liver. This diminishes the body’s ability to digest food, utilize nutrients, and fight infections. This scarring is irreversible and results in the loss of liver cells. That being said, if caught early, you can avoid complications and extend your life expectancy if you’re a candidate for a liver transplant.
Causes of Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis Signs and Symptoms
One of the most concerning issues of Cirrhosis is that often, the patient won’t experience symptoms until there’s already significant liver damage. Once there is significant scar tissue in the liver, the patient will notice the following:
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes)
- Ascites, accumulation of blood in the abdomen
- Inability to Concentrate, confusion or other changes in cognitive function
- Variceal bleeding – abnormal bleeding from veins in the portal system draining the liver
- Itchy Skin
Cirrhosis Diagnosis and Treatment
Since the early stages of Cirrhosis do not have any symptoms, it’s sometimes discovered during routine blood testing for other conditions. If your doctor suspects that you have cirrhosis, he or she will order additional blood tests, imaging, and possibly a liver biopsy.
Once diagnosed, your doctor may prescribe medications to control the symptoms of the condition.
Cirrhosis Clinical Trials
Clinical trials allow you access to potential treatments. As a patient, you would be closely monitored by your medical provider and would follow a very specific treatment plan that has been approved by a review board. Expenses related to the clinical trial may be covered by the entity that’s conducting the research. You may look for trials near you at www.pinnacleresearch.com.
Left untreated, Cirrhosis can result in a long list of complications, including swelling of the abdomen (ascites), peritonitis, hepatorenal syndrome, hypersplenism, portal hypertension, or liver cancer. Therefore, if you believe that you may be suffering from liver damage it is essential to seek medical treatment as soon as you notice symptoms.
Risk Factors for Developing Cirrhosis
- Fatty Liver Disease. Fatty liver disease is #1 in liver cirrhosis.
- Alcohol Abuse. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more alcoholic drinks within a couple of hours on a daily basis.
- Obesity. This is a risk factor for most illnesses, and Cirrhosis is no exception. A person with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher is considered obese, medically speaking. Calculate your BMI here.
- Hepatitis. If the Hepatitis C or B virus attacks the liver, it may gradually lead to the formation of scar tissue.
- Liver Toxicity. Related to prescribed medications.
Prevention of Cirrhosis comes down to a healthy lifestyle:
- If you’re going to drink, do so in moderation
- If you’ve already been diagnosed with liver disease, avoid alcohol
- Eat plant-based whole foods
- Avoid fried foods
- Incorporate regular exercise into your schedule
- Practice safe sex
- Avoid sharing needles
- See your regular physician routinely for checkups
If You Have Symptoms of Cirrhosis, Let Us Help You.
At Pinnacle, we conduct research specializing in liver disease. We work with over 70 referring physicians in San Antonio and Austin, providing clinical trials in liver disease.
Contact us to discuss how we can help you.