Each year over 25,000 Americans die from cirrhosis, the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, between the ages of 25 and 44, it is the fourth disease-related cause of death.
Cirrhosis is the product of severe liver damage or chronic liver disease. When scar tissue permeates the liver, it obstructs blood flow and hampers the liver’s ability to do its main jobs – cleanse the body of toxins, process nutrients, hormones and medications, and make crucial proteins and clotting factors. Although cirrhosis may be stopped or slowed down, its damage is permanent, and often fatal: Cirrhosis is the seventh leading cause of death by disease in the United States. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, of the National Institutes of Health, estimates that 25,000 people die from it each year.
Its earliest signs are often subtle; in many people the disease progresses silently for years or even decades until the scarring becomes extensive. As the liver loses functioning cells, it also loses ability to make vital proteins: Diminished production of the protein albumin, for instance, causes swelling in the abdomen and feet. A growing inability to meet the body’s demand for clotting factors causes someone with cirrhosis to bruise and bleed easily. Jaundice is common. Bile products or other factors in the bloodstream can cause extreme itching. Also, there is a greater chance for gallstones to form.
Over time, the inflamed, scarred liver also fails as a detoxifier. A healthy liver protects the body from potential toxins and impurities. But cirrhosis-scarred tissue makes an inefficient and ultimately ineffective, cleanser: Drugs, alcohol and other toxins stay in the system and circulate in the blood longer than they normally would; instead of wearing off at their usual rate, they can build up, magnifying the drugs’ effect and also their side effects. In its late states, cirrhosis produces a characteristic musty breath odor; this is called fetor hepaticus, and it is caused when waste products are not properly metabolized and excreted. The burden of toxins causes mental problems, including confusion, personality changes and unresponsiveness (at worst, coma).
One of the most serious complications of cirrhosis is its effect on abdominal blood vessels. Normally, the massive portal vein pumps blood from the intestines and spleen through the liver. Cirrhosis impedes this blood flow, causing a condition called portal hypertension to develop. Pressure builds as in a clogged pipe. The backup of blood causes the spleen to swell, and the body makes a valiant attempt to divert blood, by creating new outlets that bypass the liver. Some of these are huge, tortuous blood vessels, called varices, emerge in the esophagus and stomach.
Despite their size, these new vessels are not strong enough for the workload. Their walls are dangerously thin and, if the tremendous pressure continues, highly prone to breakage. This is a medical emergency; unchecked bleeding varices can be fatal in a matter of hours. Note: If you are vomiting blood, go to the emergency room at once.
Many people believe cirrhosis is the end result of a lifetime of drinking too much alcohol. It can be. Chronic alcohol abuse is the most common cause of the disease in the United States. However, even “social drinkers” can develop alcoholic cirrhosis. Women tolerate alcohol less well than men. Even if men drink less, they are more likely to develop cirrhosis. But there are many other causes, and cirrhosis may strike at any age. Chronic viral hepatitis (B, C and D) can lead to cirrhosis (although drug therapy may cure viral hepatitis or at least forestall or prevent continued liver damage in many people), as can, rarely, a severe reaction to a prescription drug or extensive exposure to an environmental toxin, such as carbon tetrachloride.
A number of diseases, including Wilson’s disease and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, cystic fibrosis, hemochromatosis (abnormal buildups of iron in the liver and other organs), galactosemia (a congenital metabolic defect), congestive heart failure, glycogen storage diseases (in which the body cannot use sugars properly), and schistosomiasis (a parasitic infection) can also result in cirrhosis. A blockage in a bile duct, the drain through which bile flows to the intestines, may cause biliary cirrhosis.
For reasons not understood, primary biliary cirrhosis, characterized by microscopic inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts, is more common in women in their late 30s, 40s and 50s. The most common form of cirrhosis in babies is biliary atresia, a disease in which the bile ducts are injured or nonexistent, causing bile to amass in the liver. (If this disease, characterized by jaundice, is diagnosed in time, a surgeon can create a new bile duct and prevent further damage.) Even surgery to remove a gallstone, for instance, can (rarely) result in bile duct blockage and lead to cirrhosis.
* Persistent fatigue, which may be debilitating at times
* Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of your eyes and/or a brownish or orange tint in the urine)
* Unusually light-colored stool (clay colored)
* Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting
* Abdominal pain
* Fluid swelling in the legs or abdomen
* Intense itching
* Confusion, disorientation, changes in sleeping hacrea or personality changes
* Increased sensitivity to medications or alcohol
* Vomiting blood or blood in the stool.
Treatment of cirrhosis depends on the stage at which your disease was diagnosed and its underlying cause. The immediate goal is to prevent or delay further damage to the liver, minimize the complications and treat specific symptoms. If you have alcoholic cirrhosis, you must stop drinking now. If your cirrhosis is caused by autoimmune hepatitis, you may need a regimen of corticosteroids and/or other immunosuppressive drugs, such as azathioprine, for life. If viral hepatitis is the underlying cause, you may not receive further drug treatment with interferon. If you have Wilson’s disease, characterized by a buildup of copper, your doctor may prescribe drugs, such as penicillamine, that deplete the body’s copper supply. For hemochromatosis, removing one pint of blood per week can help bring iron levels under control. It may be possible to treat a blocked bile duct (determined by tests including ERCP and ultrasound) with surgery.
If you have severe cirrhosis and are at risk of liver failure, you may be a candidate for a liver transplant.
b. Drug abuse (recreational or script).
d. Viral infection (Hepatitis).
e. Exposure to chemicals and/or heavy metals.
a. Sip 2 to 3 oz. (1 mouthful) of distilled or filtered water every 30 minutes, while awake, daily (no well water or water containing fluoride or chlorine); more if you are perspiring.
b. Eliminate all hydrogenated fats and oils. Eat only fish oils, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil as your only dietary oils.
c. Avoid refined carbohydrates, alcohol, processed foods and mucous producing foods such as dairy products, gluten containing grains and gelatin.
d. Eliminate alcohol, fried foods and caffeine containing foods such as coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.
e. Increase raw foods and quality proteins like sea vegetables.
f. Avoid supplemental iron and iron cooking utensils.
Primary Supplemental Support: If a viral infection is present or suspected, review the section of this web site covering virus (Hepatitis). Insure the other pre-disposing factors listed above are addressed. Insure that you are monitored by a doctor qualified to treat hepatic problems. Use the following alone, with viral support or in conjunction with prescribed medications.
1. IRON FREE BIO MULTI-PLUS – 1 tablet, 3 times daily after meals.
2. LYPO-SPHERIC VITAMIN C (Livon Labs) — 1 packet, twice daily after meals until Liver Enzymes normalixe, then once daily thereafter for Vitamin C & Phosphalipids.
3. M S M POWDER – 1/2 teaspoonful 2 to 4 times daily depending on the severity of symptoms. NOTE: Try to take MSM with your Vitamin C.
4. SUNFLAX CAPSULES — 2 capsules, twice daily after meals for Essential Fatty Acids.
FOR THE 1ST MONTH – DETOX PROGRAM
a) M C S – 3 capsules after breakfast for one month.
b) BETA TCP – 2 tablets, 3 times daily after mealsfor one month
c) LIVOTRIT PLUS – 3 tablets in the morning after breakfast for one month.
d) MILK THISTLE CAPSULES — 2 caps, twice daily after each meal.
e) 21st CENTURY HOMEOPATHIC REMEDY – #2 Lymphatic Drainage – 1 capful, 3 times daily for 14 days, then 1 capful twice daily for 14 days.
f) LIPOIC ACID – 1 capsule, twice daily after meals for one month.
g) TAURINE 500 mg — 1 capsule, twice daily after meals.
h) CA D-GLUCARATE — 2 capsules, twice daily after meals for Liver Detox.
Specific Nutrients: When symptoms or condition begins to subside, gradually, as needed, wean yourself from the Specific Nutrients & stay on the Primary Nutrients. If any symptoms re-occur resume taking Specific Nutrients.
5. LIVOTRIT PLUS – Continue LIVOTRIT PLUS at 1 tablet, 3 times daily after meals. Increase by 1 tablet daily until a maximum of 3 tablets, 3 times daily after each meal is reached.
6. PHOSPHATIDYLCHOLINE – 2 capsules, 2 times daily after meals OR use LYPO-SPHERIC VITAMIN C.
7. GSH-PLUS – 2 capsules, 3 times daily after meals.
8. BETA-TCP – 3 tablets, 3 times daily after meals.
9. CYTOZYME LV– 3 tablets, twice daily between meals on an empty stomach.
10. LIPOIC ACID – 1 capsule, twice daily after meals IF YOU HAVE DIABETES.
Although cirrhosis may be stopped or slowed down, its damage is usually permanent, and can be fatal.
Nearly all patients with cirrhosis are insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is a primary feature in type 2 diabetes and occurs when the body is unable to use insulin, a hormone that is important for delivering blood sugar and amino acids into cells and helps determine whether these nutrients will be burned for energy or stored for future use.
PRIMARY BILIARY CIRRHOSIS
Primary biliary cirrhosis is a liver disease that slowly destroys the bile ducts in the liver. Bile, a substance that helps digest fat, leaves the liver through these ducts. When the ducts are damaged, bile builds up in the liver and damages liver tissue. Over time, the disease can cause cirrhosis and may make the liver stop working.
The cause of primary biliary cirrhosis is unknown. The disease affects women more often than men, and usually occurs between the ages of 30 and 60 years. Some research suggests that the disease might be caused by a problem within the immune system.
The most common symptoms of primary biliary cirrhosis are itchy skin and fatigue. Other symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), cholesterol deposits on the skin, fluid retention, and dry eyes or mouth. Some people with primary biliary cirrhosis also have osteoporosis, arthritis and thyroid problems.
Primary biliary cirrhosis is diagnosed through laboratory tests, x-rays, and in some cases, a liver biopsy (a simple operation to remove a small piece of liver tissue). Treatment may include taking vitamin and calcium supplements, hormone therapy, and medicines to relieve symptoms. A liver transplant may be necessary if the liver is severely damaged.
More information is available from:
American Liver Foundation
1425 Pompton Avenue
Cedar Grove, NJ 07009
tel: (800) 223?0179 or (201) 256?2550.
SEE: Link below
How can I avoid cirrhosis?
1. Do not drink to excess. Avoid the excessive use of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol destroys liver cells. How well damaged cells regenerate varies with each individual. Prior injury to the liver by unknown and unrecognized viruses or chemicals can also affect the regeneration process.
2. Take precautions when using man-made chemicals. The liver must process many chemicals, which were not present in the past. More research is needed to determine the effects on the liver of many of these compounds. When using chemicals at work, in cleaning your home or working in your garden: be sure there is good ventilation; follow directions for use of all products; never mix chemical products; avoid getting chemicals on the skin, where they can be absorbed, and wash promptly if you do; avoid inhaling chemicals; wear protective clothing.
3. Seek medical advice. Remain under supervision of a physician if you develop viral hepatitis until your recovery is assured.
4. Maintain good eating habits. Use the “Guidelines for Healthy Eating” found in the COMMON HEALTH PROBLEMS section of this site. Also, to insure you are getting the vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids the body needs every day include a good supplement program such as that noted earlier under the Primary Nutrients heading in this section.