Digestive Disorders

Davis Owens and Wilbur Quintero

Cirrhosis of the Liver

Description

Cirrhosis is a disease that happens when healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue causing the liver to stop functioning properly. The scar tissue blocks blood flow through the liver and slows down nutrients processing through. It slows down the production of proteins and other substances made by the liver. According to the National Institute of Health, Cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death by disease.
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Causes

Hepatitis C, fatty liver, and alcohol abuse are the most common. But, anything that damages the liver can also be a cause.


  • Fatty liver associated with obesity and diabetes
  • Chronic viral infections of the liver; Hepatitis B, C, and D.
(chronic- a long lasting condition that can be controlled but not cured)
  • Blockage of bile duct
  • Repeated happenings of heart failure with fluid backing into the liver
  • Inherited diseases:
Cystic Fibrosis
Glycogen storage diseases
Alpha 1 antitryspin deficiency
Hemochromatosis
  • Other less likely causes:
Reactions to prescription drugs
Prolonged exposure to environmental toxins
Parasite infections

Treatment

There is no cure but there are treatments available that can stop or delay its progress, minimize the damage to liver cells, and reduce compilations.


Treatment depends on the cause:

  • Alcohol Abuse- the person must stop drinking alcohol to halt the progression
  • Hepatitis- doctor may prescribe steroids or antiviral drugs reduce liver cell injury
  • Autoimmune diseases, Wilson's Disease, or Hemochromatosis- treatment varies
  • Medications- reduce salt to treat Edema (fluid retention) and ascites (fluid in the abdomen)
  • Drugs- diuretics remove excess fluid and prevent edema
  • Diet and drug therapies- help improve the altered mental function that cirrhosis can cause
  • Laxatives- help absorb toxins and speed their removal from the intestines
  • Liver transplantation- usually only used in very serious cirrhosis condtions

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