Cirrhosis of the Liver

What Is Cirrhosis of the Liver

Cirrhosis of the Liver is an abnormal condition where permanent scarring is done to the liver.  The most common reason for Cirrhosis is Alcoholism, but it can also result from Hepatitis and other conditions.  The liver helps detox harmful substances from the body, cleans the blood, and makes vital nutrients.  When the liver is injured it attempts to repair itself, ultimately creating more and more scar tissue.  The progression of Cirrhosis makes it difficult for the liver to function.  

Signs Of Cirrhosis of the Liver

People with Cirrhosis usually don't experience any symptoms until the liver damage is severe.  When the scar tissue is so intense that it inhibits proper liver function, people may experience:

  • Faitigue
  • Itchy Skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Yellow discoloration of the skin (Jaundice)
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Confusion or slurred speech
  • Bleeding or bruising easily
  • Pain or tenderness near the liver
  • Fluid accumulation in the abdomen (if Cirrhosis worsens)
What Causes Cirrhosis of the Liver

The most common causes of Cirrhosis are long-term, viral Hepatitis C infections and chronic alcohol abuse.  Anything that damages the liver can cause Cirrhosis.  If two to three alcoholic drinks are consumed every day for many years, the liver can be damaged and result in Cirrhosis.  While there are a range of causes of Cirrhosis of the Liver, the most common ones are as follows. 

  • Continuous alcohol abuse
  • Chronic viral Hepatitis (both B and C)
  • Accumulation of fat in the liver
  • Blockage of bile duct
  • Repeated bouts of heart failure
  • Inherited diseases (such as Cystic Fibrosis)
  • Inflammation caused by autoimmune disorders
  • Medications
  • Disorders (which affect the body's ability to handle copper)

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • It is recommended that a person with Cirrhosis of the Liver quit drinking alcohol.  Even if the Cirrhosis is not caused by alcohol, drinking alcohol can continue to harm liver cells and worsen the condition.  In addition to avoiding alcohol, try to eliminate processed foods, meat, refined sugars, salt, fatty foods, hydrogenated oils, and sugary beverages from your diet.  All of these can be hard on the digestive system, and the liver plays a big roll in digestion.  
  • Try to stick to a healthy diet comprised of plant-based foods, which are nutritious, not hard on the digestive system, and help combat the risk of malnutrition.  You should opt to consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes to promote overall health. 
  • Since fluid retention can be a problem in people with Cirrhosis, following a low-sodium diet is healthier for your liver.  Salty foods, fried foods, or processed foods can worsen Cirrhosis and lead to abdominal swelling or edema.  Be sure to always read the nutrition labels to know exactly what you are putting in your body. 
  • Exercising can contribute to better overall health, so taking up a light exercise may help people with Cirrhosis. Walking, swimming, Tai Chi, yoga, cycling or riding and exercise bike, and using a stairclimber are all good light exercises to do.  Start off with less time (about 20 minutes) and work your way up to an hour every time you work out. 
  • Milk thistle, while it cannot reverse Cirrhosis of the Liver, can help protect the liver against further damage.  It contains silibinin, which has powerful antioxidant and detoxifying properties.  It is recommended that people with a history of hormone-related conditions avoid consuming this herb. 
  • A diet high in fiber can aid the digestive tract and facilitate the elimination of toxins.  Ginger is a great herb to help out the digestive system.  Cut a few slices of ginger root, place them in a cup of hot water, and drink the tea.  You can also add ginger to fresh juices, smoothies, or cook with it. 
  • Certain research has found that consuming ginseng may encourage the growth of glandular cells in the liver. The belief is that these cells help heal the liver, but more research needs to be conducted for how well ginseng promotes this process. 
  • Licorice root has been considered a beneficial herb for liver health.  It can help treat Hepatitis C infections, which are common causes of Cirrhosis.  This herb is not meant for people with High Blood Pressure. 
  • Acupuncture may help relieve some Cirrhosis symptoms like fatigue or certain discomforts.  Additionally, it can also help people quit drinking alcohol.  Acupuncture can help promote healthy circulation, relieve stress, and establish a positive mind/body connection. 
Things you should eat
  • Cabbage 
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Dark Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, & chard)
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Celery
  • Ginger
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Dandelion Root
  • Milk Thistle 
  • Turmeric
  • Black Seed
  • Spirulina
  • Green Tea
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