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Liver Disease: Help with Cirrhosis

Do you have liver disease? Contact GI-North for help.Cirrhosis is characterized by the scarring of the liver and is the final phase in chronic liver disease. It is most commonly caused by alcohol abuse or hepatitis B or C infection. Other causes of the disease is autoimmune hepatitis, bile duct disorders, medicines, and hereditary diseases. If you are unfamiliar with the disease and how to get help, here are some tips:

Symptoms of Cirrhosis

Fatigue and energy loss along with poor appetite and weight loss are common symptoms. Nausea or belly pain is also common. If small, red blood vessels that resemble spider veins appear on the skin, it could be a sign of the disease.

When the condition worsens, fluid buildup in the legs and the abdomen is common. These two conditions are also referred to as edema and ascites. Jaundice or yellowing of the skin or mucus membranes is also common. Some people have problems with thinking or confusion. If your stool is pale or clay-colored or you bruise easily, you may need to be tested for liver disease. Testicle shrinking or breast swelling is also common.

Diagnostic Tests

Doctors testing for this condition will usually administer a complete blood count, liver function test, and blood albumin levels. Computed tomography (CT) or Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the abdomen may also be recommended. An ultrasound of the abdomen and an endoscopy will be taken to identify abnormalities. A biopsy can be taken to confirm any diagnosis administered.

Lifestyle Changes and Treatment Plans for Cirrhosis

Begin by limiting alcohol intake and eat a diet that’s healthy. Reduce your salt intake and get vaccinated for influenza, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. Vaccinations for pneumococcal pneumonia is also suggested.

Water pills or diuretics are recommended to reduce fluid build up. Vitamin K will prevent excess bleeding. Medicines can also be given to prevent mental confusion. Antibiotics can also be given for infections.

Endoscopic treatments can be given for enlarged veins in the throat, and fluid can be removed from the abdomen known as paracentesis. To repair blood flow in the liver, place a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) in the liver. A liver transplant is the last resort for liver damage.

Get Help at GI-North

If you are diagnosed with the disease, you can join support groups to help you through the treatment. Talking with others can make the treatment bearable. Contact your health care provider if you experience any of the symptoms provided and receive the help that you need. GI North is one option to help you receive the help you need.

© 2014 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

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