Can You Cure Cirrhosis of the Liver?
The treatment of cirrhosis depends on the cause of the disease and if there are complications. The objectives of treatment are slowing down the progress of scar tissue in the liver and prevent or treat the complications of the disease.
For cirrhosis with complications, hospitalization may be necessary.
Eat a Nutritious Diet: As the malnutrition is common in people with cirrhosis, it is important to consume healthy diet at all stages of the disease. Health providers recommend a feeding plan well balanced. If ascites occurs, a low sodium diet is recommended. A person with cirrhosis should not eat raw seafood, which may contain a bacterium that causes serious infections. To improve nutrition, the doctor can add a liquid supplement to be administrated orally or through a nasogastric tube, a very small tube that enters through the nose and throat until reaching the stomach.
Avoid Alcohol and Other Substances: It is recommended that patients with cirrhosis do not consume alcohol or illicit substances, because both would provoke more liver damage. Many vitamins and medications can affect liver function, before taking them you should ask a doctor.
Treatment for cirrhosis also covers specific complications. For edema and ascites, the doctor will recommend diuretics, which are medicines to eliminate body fluids. Large amounts of ascitic fluid can be removed from the abdomen, and tests for bacterial peritonitis can be practiced. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed to avoid infections. The severe infections with ascites will require intravenous antibiotics.
The doctor may prescribe a beta-blocker or nitrate for portal hypertension.
Beta-blockers can decrease the pressure in the varices and reduce the risk of hemorrhages. Gastrointestinal bleeding requires a high endoscopy to look for esophageal varices. The doctor can perform a ligation with a band using a special device to compress the varices and stop the bleeding. People who have had varicose veins before may need to take medication to avoid episodes in the future.
Hepatic encephalopathy is treated by cleaning the intestine with lactulose, which is a laxative that is given orally or through enemas.
If necessary, antibiotics are added to the treatment. Patients can be instructed to reduce consumption of proteins in the diet. Encephalopathy liver can improve if they control the other complications of cirrhosis.
People with cirrhosis who present hepatorenal insufficiency should be submitted to a periodic hemodialysis treatment, which uses a machine to clean the waste of the blood. Also, medications can be administered to improve blood flow through the kidneys.
Other treatments attend to the specific causes of cirrhosis. The treatment for cirrhosis caused by hepatitis depends on the specific type of hepatitis. For example, for viral hepatitis, interferon and other antiviral medications are prescribed, autoimmune hepatitis requires corticosteroids and other medications that depress the immune system.
When is a Liver Transplant Indicated for Cirrhosis?
The possibility of a liver transplant is considered when complications cannot be controlled by treatment.
Liver transplantation is an important surgery in which the sick liver is removed and replaced by a healthy one from an organ donor. A team of health professionals determines the risks and benefits of the procedure for each patient. In recent years, survival rates have improved as a result of drugs that suppress the immune system and prevent this attack from damaging the new liver.
The number of people who need a liver transplant far exceeds the number of organs available. A person who needs a transplant must undergo a complex evaluation process before being added to a long waiting list for transplants.
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