Caused by chronic injury, cirrhosis is a condition in which the liver slowly malfunctions and degrades. Healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue, obstructing partially blood circulation to the liver. Cirrhosis is the terminal stage of chronic liver disease
In the United States, chronic liver disease is commonly caused by:
o NASH or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and NAFLD or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
o Metabolic disorders of copper and iron (Wilson’s disease and hemochromatosis, repsctively)
o Long-term hepatitis B infection
o Long-term hepatitis C infection
o Disorders of the biliary system (the liver’s drainage system), such as primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cirrhosis
o Autoimmune inflammation of the liver
o Chronic alcoholism (see alcoholic liver disease)
At the onset of the disease symptoms tend not to appear or they may develop slowly. When they do arise, symptoms can include:
o Jaundice (yellowish eyes, mucus membranes and skin)
o Blood in the stools of vomiting blood
o Buildup of fluid or swelling in the stomach (ascites) and legs (edema)
o Red, small and spider-like blood vessels on the skin
o Clay-colored or pale stools
o Bleeding gums or nosebleeds
o Nausea and vomiting
o Problems thinking or confusion
o Low libido, impotence
o Stomach pain or indigestion
o Rapid loss of weight
The Treatment for Cirrhosis
Treating cirrhosis is usually based on the manifested complications and the cause of the disease. The aim of the treatment both in Chinese medicine and Western medicine is to retard the advance of scar tissue in the liver and treat or prevent the complications arising from the disease based on the condition of the patient.
A well-planned and nutritious diet can play a critical role in the treatment of the disease. Chinese medicine practitioners may suggest a well-balanced dietary plan. For this condition, it is important to restrict the intake of sodium. Cirrhosis sufferers should also avoid raw shellfish, because it contains bacteria that can worsen the infection.
Substances the might hurt the liver such as smoking and tobacco should be avoided. People with cirrhosis are advised to stay away from illicit substances and to not consume any alcohol since both only injure the liver further. Because a lot of prescription and over-the-shelf drugs and vitamins may affect the function of the liver, patients should always consult with a practitioner before taking them.
A patient with cirrhosis is highly advised to avail of Western medicine treatment as his/her primary mode of treatment. When complications cannot be bettered by treatment, a liver transplant may be required. Simultaneously, the use of acupuncture and Chinese medicine is very much recommended as a type of supplementary therapy particularly in diet and food management.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have the power to enhance and increase the liver and the other vital organs’ immune and self-defense system as well as balance the vital organs. In TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine, food and herbs go hand in hand in affecting the energy fields of the body. The diet of the patient should complement the medications taken in order to experience good results. TCM has a complete system in diet and food management. It is a system that identifies well the various types of food that have a specific disadvantage or advantage to diseases such as cirrhosis.
Extremely important for the patient is getting enough sleep and rest. This disease should never be underestimated. The rise of cirrhosis is sometimes hidden, so to monitor his/her progress and situation, the patient needs regular check-ups.
The patient needs to stay optimistic and positive. The cirrhosis may come with certain levels of discomfort, and therefore the patient’s self-psychological adjustment is of extreme importance. In order to beat this disease, the patient needs to have strong determination and a build-up of confidence. With the hard work of both the practitioners and scientists, new treatments have been developed which hopefully can lead to a total cure in the near future.
Perform moderate exercises: Qi gong and Tai Chi are Chinese therapeutic exercises that are ideal to attain and maintain a stable condition. These two exercises are meditative, moving, and slow-motion designed to help you relax and achieve good health. Both exercises aim to help people redirect and regulate the flow of blood and qi within the body. They are ideal ways to bring back health after therapy
Eat the right diet: To facilitate the repair and rehabilitation of liver tissue adequate nutrition is needed. Avoid smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol. The liver can be seriously injured by alcohol. Stay away from hard-to-digest and spicy food. Eat lots of protein rich foods like eggs, soy milk, and milk. Also eat foods high in vitamins and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.