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Basics on Cirrhosis

Posted Feb 25 2010 12:00am
Larry's not messing around when he tells you this! But just remember that the liver is awesome at regenerating itself!! And there is always hope. We just have to fight and be our own advocate. If you are showing any signs of a overworked liver, please go in and see your doctor. It can only get better if you work at it, there is no miracle speedy liver cleaner and shame on anyone who tries to sell you one!! All you can do is... say it with me now, healthy diet, exercise, moderation, less stress, vitamins/minerals, and for goodness sake, get your yearly check-ups. (Remember, Hep C sufferers to check for Liver Cancer... The percentage is small, but even without cirrhosis, patients are more susceptible)  See post on the 15 Ways to Love your Liver to get the basics... it's a good one, other cirrhosis sickies concur. tehehe. So like I said, this may be repeating, but I liked the way this was written. I am sorry (BAD BLOGGER) because I couldn't tell you for the life of me where I got it. 

"Many people are walking around with liver
disease and do not know they even have it.
The liver can have inflammation inside and
it can enlarge. This inflammation, if caught
early on, can be treated and the liver cells
can heal. IF the inflammation is not
treated, it can progress to the death of
the liver cells known as cirrhosis.
Some people may start to have symptoms
like the yellowing of the whites of the eyes
and the skin. This is caused because the
liver is no longer able to convert a
substance known as bilirubin into a soluble
form to be released into the intestines
with the bile. So instead it goes into
the blood and can cause a patient to feel
itchy. Also the patient will start to feel
very tired since the body is trying to heal
itself and compensate for the functions
that the liver once did and can no longer do.
It all depends on what caused the cirrhosis
in the first place. If it is caused by a
bacterial or viral infection...such as Hep
C...you could develop a fever, nausea,
and vomiting. I have to mention here, that
some patients may not show any signs
of having cirrhosis until the liver goes into
liver failure. A few other signs are developing spider like veins on the chest
and neck, shoulder areas. The skin starts
to appear thinner and you can see these
veins...they don't hurt, but if scratched they
can bleed. Liver patients are known to
bleed easily because the liver is not making
the factors needed to help the blood to clot.
They can also develop red palms and soles
of the feet...this is caused because of
hormone changes...the skin may peel off
like they have had a sunburn. Women
may have changes in their mentrual cycles
and men may develop enlargement of their
breasts and swelling of the scotrum because
of the changes of certain hormones in their
body.
When you go into the final stages of
this disease: they can develop
encephalopathy (this is mental confusion,
forgetfulness). They usually need to have
someone handle their affairs for them.
This develops from toxins going into the
blood that liver isn't able to handle anymore
and it crosses the blood brain barrier and
goes into the brain. One of these is
ammonia.
The can develop Ascites and edema Ascites( fluid build up inside the abdominal
area) which is caused because the liver
can no longer make a protein known as
Albumin that normally holds the fluid in
our vessels and now it leaks out. Edema
(fluid in the legs and feet) is caused because
liver patients tend to hold onto sodium in
their bodies and this holds the fluid inside
the body also. This can become quite
uncomfortable for the patient. The fluid
in the abdomen can keep increasing and
have to be removed by a procedure known
as paracentesis. This fluid presses on
the organs in the abdomen and a patient
may have difficulty breathing, may not
feel like eatting cause of the pressure on
the stomach. It is very hard on the patient.
The fluid in the leg/feet area, may mean
they will need a larger size shoe or slipper.
They try to relieve the fluid in this area
by elevating the legs. The doctor may
prescribe diuretics and place them on a
lower sodium diet. However, the sodium
level has to be watched closely since it
needs to stay within a certain range for
the heart to beat well.
The patient may also develop
portal hypertension. As the liver dies,
the blood doesn't go through the
liver and backs up into veins that do not
normally handle this blood flow. They
can become weak in spots and balloon
outward. They can also break open and
internal bleeding may start. These veins
are known as varicose veins or varies...
They usually develop in the esophagus,
rectum and belly button area.

To have cirrhosis...it may not even seem
like you have it till these symptoms start
to appear. As it advances, it becomes
more uncomfortable and worse in nature.
Your body is full of toxins now, the fluid
keeps building up, your other organs are
working overtime to try to pick up where
the liver isn't able anymore, your mental
ability start to deterate, you don't feel
like eatting, you are so very tired...but
your sleeping habits change and you may
only be able to sleep for short periods of
time and it might not be at night"
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