What is Liver Cirrhosis?
Liver cirrhosis is the scarring of the healthy tissues in the liver. This may permanently damage the liver and keeps it from functioning normally.
This scarring of the liver tissues is most often caused by exposure to the toxins such as alcohol or viral infections. Many types of conditions or diseases also affect the function of the liver and results in inflammation and death of the healthy cells. In response to this, the body starts producing more and more tissues to do for the repair process.
The overproduction of scar tissues may result in scar tissues blocking the flow of blood through the liver. This slows down the function of the liver to process nutrients, medicines, natural toxins and leads to low production of proteins and other substances made by the liver.
Some of the essential functions the liver helps the body with include:
- Producing bile, which supports the body absorb fats, cholesterol, and vitamins including A, D, E, and K
- Purifying blood by removing toxins and bacteria from the body
- Storing sugar and vitamins for later use by the body
- Creating blood clotting proteins
Liver cirrhosis likely affects men more than women. The last stage of liver cirrhosis can be dangerous, so it is important to seek immediate care as soon as you get to know about it.
How Cirrhosis Develops
The liver is a crucial organ that is able to regenerate damaged cells. Cirrhosis develops when the causative factors that may damage the liver are disrupting the functions of the liver for a long time. When this happens, the liver produces too many scarred cells that abnormally outgrow the healthy cells. Thus, the liver becomes scarred and injured. A scarred liver may not function well, and it is termed liver cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis often results in shrinkage. The portal vein may not function well when the nutrient-rich blood is not able to flow into the liver. The pressure in the portal vein rises when blood cannot pass into the liver. This increase in the pressure in the portal vein is called portal hypertension. This high-pressure system causes a backup, which leads to esophageal varices, which may burst and cause bleeding.
The symptoms of liver cirrhosis often appear when the liver is not able to function well, such as remove toxins properly and generate necessary protein or help with the absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. You might not witness any sign until the progression is quite extreme or severe.
Some of the generalised signs that may develop are as follow:
- Yellow discoloration in the skin and eyes
- Light-coloured stools
- Easily bleeding or bruising
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swelling in your legs, feet or ankles
- Weight loss
- Itchy skin
- Fluid accumulation in your abdomen
- Spiderlike blood vessels on your skin
- Redness in the palms of the hands
- For women, absence or loss of periods (premature menopause)
- For men, breast enlargement or testicular atrophy, loss of sex drive
- Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech
The most common causes of cirrhosis include viral hepatitis C infection and chronic alcohol abuse.
The other common causes of liver cirrhosis may include:
Men are likely to get liver cirrhosis because of their tendency to consume alcohol more. Women who drink more than two alcoholic drinks per day for a long time are at an increased risk of liver cirrhosis.
However, the amount is different for everyone, and this does not mean that everyone who consumes alcohol is bound to develop cirrhosis. This only happens when you have been consuming alcohol for more than 10 to 12 years.
Hepatitis C can be a result of contamination that spreads through intercourse or exposure to infected blood. One may also get exposed to infected blood through contaminated needles of any source, including tattooing, piercing, IV drugs, etc.
Less common causes of cirrhosis include the following:
- Hepatitis B can cause inflammation in the liver and damage it to a severe extent.
- Hepatitis D can also cause cirrhosis. It mostly occurs in people who already have hepatitis B.
- Autoimmune hepatitis causes inflammation that can progress to cirrhosis.
- Damage to the bile ducts, such as a condition called primary cholangitis that may not function well to drain bile.
- Conditions that alter the body’s ability to handle iron and copper. These may include hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease.
- Medications, including over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, some antibiotics, and some antidepressants, can lead to cirrhosis.
Ayurvedic treatment for liver cirrhosis
From an ayurvedic point of view, liver cirrhosis is a condition of aggravated Pitta dosha. Since Pitta represents the liver, aggravation and of which affects the function of the liver. Vitiated Pitta often affects the production and flow of bile from the liver, affecting the enzyme activities related to the digestion and metabolism process. This, in turn, also affects the other function of the liver.
Rasa and Rakta dhatus become intoxicated and results in other dhatus becoming weak.
Liver cirrhosis treatment in Ayurveda is often helpful in preventing and managing the complications like ascites. If left untreated, liver cells may become dry and rough, resulting in complete damage.
Liver cirrhosis treatment in Ayurveda is one of the best ways to rejuvenate or rectify the damage done to the liver due to scarring. Ayurveda has the capacity to heal every damaged cell and tissue within the body.
There are numerous procedures and therapies to help out with liver cirrhosis. But we at AyuKarma recommend our patients to apply the values of Ayurveda once in a life for overall improved health.