Liver Cirrhosis Introduction: Liver cirrhosis is a serious liver ailment where gradually healthy liver cells are replaced with scar cells which damages the liver and impairs the liver functions by blocking the blood flow through the liver. Oftentimes this obstructed blood flow or portal hypertension may cause gastrointestinal bleeding. Liver cirrhosis is a life-threatening ailment as the damage done to the liver is irreversible.

Liver is the largest organ in the body which is located in the upper right side of the abdomen, above the stomach and beneath the diaphragm. The prime functions of liver are as follows:

* To reduce fat.
* To store glucose, vitamins and nutrients.
* To produce certain proteins and bile.
* To regulate blood clotting.
* To change food into energy.

Liver cirrhosis is broadly classified into 12 types on the basis of the root cause:

1) Alcoholic Liver Disease.
2) Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease.
3) Chronic Hepatitis C.
4) Chronic Hepatitis B.
5) Primary Biliary Cirrhosis.
6) Cholangitis.
7) Auto immune Hepatitis.
8) Hereditary Haemochromatosis.
9) Wilson’s Disease.
10) Cardiac Cirrhosis.
11) Lipase Deficiency.
12) Cystic Fibrosis.

Causes: Some of the causes for liver cirrhosis are as follows:
1) Excessive alcohol intake.
2) Liver inflammation due to the Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis D.
3) Auto immune diseases.
4) Hereditary ailments such as Glycogen storage disease, galactosemia, fructose intolerance.
5) Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis which is caused by obesity, Insulin resistance type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and metabolic syndrome.
6) Abnormal storage of heavy metals in the liver
7) Parasitic infection
8) Heart ailment
9) Excessive intake of steroids.
10) Reaction to drugs. (eg. Methotrexate, Isoniazid)
11) Frequent exposure to environmental toxins and liver congestion.
12) Inflammation and blockage of bile ducts.

Symptoms: In the initial stage there are no symptoms as such but as the disease progresses one may notice some symptoms. Following are the major symptoms of Liver cirrhosis.
1) Fatigue and loss of appetite.
2) Painful swelling on abdomen.
3) Nausea and vomiting.
4) Enlarged breast in men (gynecomastia).
5) Urine and skin appears yellowish.
6) Liver and Spleen enlargement.
7) Water accumulation in legs and abdomen.
8) Hypertension.
9) Jaundice.
10) Inflammation of veins.
11) Hypogonadism in male.
12) Brittleness of bones and joints pain.
13) Weight loss.
14) Deformities of nails.
15) Tiny red lines on the skin.

Diagnosis: Liver cirrhosis can be diagnosed by various diagnostic tests. In the initial stage the liver cirrhosis can be detected through routine blood test which is known as complete blood count (CBC). A blood test to measure liver enzymes ALT or SGPT, AST or SGOT and GGPT is done to detect the liver damage.

An abdominal X-ray helps to determine size, shape and position of the liver.

The most important and very common diagnostic test is Liver Function Test which detects the damage to the liver. The blood is checked for liver enzymes and excess bilirubin level which determines the liver damage.This diagnostic test helps to detect severity of liver ailment.

Since hepatitis is one of the major cause for liver cirrhosis, the test to detect hepatitis B virus (HBV antibody testing) and hepatitis C virus (HCV antibody testing) is necessary.

Imaging tests such as ultrasound scan, fibroscan, computerized tomography (CT) and MRI scan is carried out to identify liver tissue scarring. These tests are useful to determine the damages done to liver or the cirrhosis related complications.

Endoscopy is another procedure which produces the detail images of oesophagus and stomach for swollen vessels which is a symptom of liver cirrhosis.

Liver biopsy should be considered only after all the non-invasive tests are inconclusive as biopsy is a dangerous process. In this process a small sample tissue of liver is removed and it is observed under the microscope for cirrhosis symptoms. The three types of biopsies are percutaneous or needle biopsy, Tran’s venous biopsy and laparoscopic or open biopsy. Percutaneous or needle biopsy is the most common biopsy procedure.

Well, if we talk about liver cirrhosis treatment, Ayurveda has provided us a lot. There is no successful treatment for any kind of liver disease in allopathic but yes we do have very effective and result giving treatment in Ayurveda.

Regular use of herbal remedies have been proved excellent in liver cirrhosis. Herbs used here are capable of replacing dead tissues with healthy and also improve liver so that it can perform its normal functions.


Author's Bio: 

Dr. Vikram Chauhan is an Ayurvedic practitioner based in Mohali, India. He is spreading the knowledge of ancient healing treatment Ayurveda, not only in India but also abroad. Dr. Vikram has conducted many seminar and workshop on herbal treatment in various nations. Read more