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Liver Cirrhosis

Liver Cirrhosis

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Published by Happy Jhen Eux

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Published by: Happy Jhen Eux on Oct 10, 2012
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LIVER CIRRHOSIS
Theliverweighs about 3 pounds and is the largest solid organ in the body. It performs manyimportant functions, such as:
 
Manufacturing bloodproteinsthat aid in clotting, oxygen transport, and immune system function
 
Storing excess nutrients and returning some of the nutrients to the bloodstream
 
Manufacturing bile, a substance needed to help digest food
 
Helping the body store sugar (glucose) in the form of glycogen
 
Ridding the body of harmful substances in the bloodstream, includingdrugsand alcohol
 
Breaking down saturated fat and producingcholesterolCirrhosis is a slowly progressing disease in which healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue,eventually preventing the liver from functioning properly. The scar tissue blocks the flow of bloodthrough the liver and slows the processing of nutrients, hormones, drugs, and naturally produced toxins.It also slows the production of proteins and other substances made by the liver.
 What Causes Cirrhosis of the Liver?Alcohol
is a very common cause of cirrhosis, particularly in the Western world. The developmentof cirrhosis depends upon the amount and regularity of alcohol intake. Chronic, high levels of alcoholconsumption injure liver cells. Thirty percent of individuals who drink daily at least eight to sixteenounces of hard liquor or the equivalent for fifteen or more years will develop cirrhosis. Alcohol causes arange of liver diseases; from simple and uncomplicatedfatty liver(steatosis), to the more serious fattyliver with inflammation(steatohepatitisor alcoholic hepatitis), to cirrhosis.
 
Hepatitis C,fatty liver,andalcohol abuseare the most common causes of cirrhosis of the liver in the U.S., but anything that damages the liver can cause cirrhosis, including:
 
Fatty liver associated withobesityanddiabetes
 
Chronic viral infections of the liver(hepatitistypes B, C, and D; Hepatitis D is extremely rare)
 
 
 What Are the Symptoms of Cirrhosis of the Liver?
Patients with cirrhosis may have few or no symptoms and signs of liver disease. Some of thesymptoms may be nonspecific, that is, they don't suggest that the liver is their cause. Some of the morecommon symptoms and signs of cirrhosis include:
 
Yellowing of the skin(jaundice)due to the accumulation ofbilirubinin the blood
 
 
 
 
 
Easy bruisingfrom decreased production of blood clotting factors by the diseased liver.Patients with cirrhosis also develop symptoms and signs from the complications of cirrhosis that arediscussed next.
Diagnosis
People with early-stage cirrhosis of the liver usually don't have symptoms. Often, cirrhosis is firstdetected through a routine blood test or checkup. Mayo Clinic specialists are alert to these early signs ofliver cirrhosis.Mayo specialists use these tests to diagnose cirrhosis of the liver:
 
Laboratory tests.
Your blood is checked for certain enzymes and excess bilirubin, a substance thatmay indicate liver damage.
 
 Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT or SGPT)
 This protein is found primarily in the liver. It is released into the blood when there has beensome sort of liver tissue damage.
Normal values:
less than 35
Elevated:
Indicates that liver tissue damage has occurred as a result of infection,medications,obstruction, cirrhosis or injury to the liver.
Below normal:
There is no known disease process that results in a low ALT level.
 
 Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST or SGOT)
 This protein is found primarily in the liver. It is released into the blood when there has beensome sort of liver tissue damage.
 
Normal values:
less than 35
Elevated:
Indicates tissue damage as a result of such things as obstruction, hepatitis, orcirrhosis.
Below normal:
Usually not significant
 
 Alkaline Phosphatase (ALK PHOS)
 Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme found in many organs in the body, including the liver.
Normal values:
30 - 120
Elevated:
A warning sign that there is some type of liver dysfunction resulting in livertissue damage.
 
 (MRE). This noninvasive advanced imaging test, developed atMayo Clinic, detects hardening of the liver.
 
CT, MRI and ultrasound.
 
 
Biopsy.
A tissue sample (biopsy) may be taken to identify the severity and extent of liver damage.Mayo Clinic has pathologists who specialize in examining liver biopsies.
 What Is the Treatment for Cirrhosis of the Liver?
Although there is no cure for cirrhosis of the liver, there are treatments available that can stop ordelay its progress, minimize the damage to liver cells, and reduce complications.The treatment used depends on the cause of cirrhosis of the liver.
 
For cirrhosis caused by alcohol abuse, the person must stop drinking alcohol to halt the progression ofcirrhosis.
 
If a person has hepatitis, the doctor may prescribe steroids or antiviral drugs to reduce liver cell injury.
 
For people with cirrhosis caused byautoimmune diseases,Wilson's disease, or hemochromatosis, thetreatment varies.Medications may be given to control the symptoms of cirrhosis. Edema (fluid retention) and ascites(fluid in the abdomen) are treated, in part, by reducing salt in thediet.Drugs called diuretics are usedto remove excess fluid and to prevent edema from recurring. Diet and drug therapies can helpimprove the altered mental function that cirrhosis can cause. Laxatives such aslactulosemay be givento help absorb toxins and speed their removal from the intestines.Liver transplantationmay be needed for some people with severe cirrhosis.

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