Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis

Liver

Liver (hepatic) cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease, caused by various diseases and conditions of the liver, such as hepatitis and chronic alcoholism. The liver is an organ that performs several important functions in the body, including detoxification of harmful substances in the body, helps in cleansing the blood as well as in the production of vital substances.

Cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis can be described as a condition in which normal liver tissue is gradually replaced by fibrous connective tissue (scar tissue). The liver cirrhosis is mostly slow progressing disease and is often not characterized by symptoms in the earlier stages. As liver function begins to worsen, serious problems appear. Treatment of liver cirrhosis varies from patient to patient. In the final stage of the condition, liver transplantation may be the only solution.

Causes

The liver can be damaged by various different conditions which can lead to cirrhosis, some of the important ones are:

Chronic alcohol abuse

The most common cause of liver cirrhosis is chronic alcohol abuse. If you drink several glasses of any alcoholic beverage daily for years, it will not only bring you into a state of drunkenness and addiction but will also trigger the development of cirrhosis.

Hepatitis

Long-term chronic viral hepatitis can also damage the liver, especially types B and C. It usually occurs after 20 years of developing hepatitis and can go much faster if the patient has an alcohol addiction.

Autoimmune disease

The hepatic cirrhosis can be triggered by autoimmune diseases which can attack the liver instead of protecting it, causing inflammation that later develops into cirrhosis.

alcohol addiction

Risk groups

Alcoholics

Excessive amounts of alcohol destroy the whole body, especially the liver. An alcoholic’s liver can no longer cleanse the body of toxins.

Older people

This category includes persons aged 45 to 65 years. During this period of life, liver degeneration is most often triggered, additionally fastened by habits and lifestyles.

Obese people

People who are overweight often have liver problems. Physically inactive people who eat unhealthy tend to have increased BMI.

Hypervitaminosis A

Hypervitaminosis resulting from excessive intake of Vitamin A can lead to poisoning and impaired liver function. Ignoring the symptoms leads to cirrhosis.

Signs and symptoms

Cirrhosis rarely shows any symptoms until the damage is severe, some of the important signs and symptoms include:

Fatigue and loss of energy

Loss of appetite and nausea

Spider angioma (spider naevus) – swollen blood vessels beneath the skin surface with central red spot and extensions which look like spider‘s web.

Jaundice – yellowish pigmentation of the skin and whites of the eyes caused by the inability of the liver to eliminate the excess of bilirubin.

Palmar erythema – redness in the palms of the hands

Ascites – fluid accumulation in the abdomen

Edema – swelling in legs, ankles or feet

Hepatic encephalopathy – Problems with memory, attention, and hard time answering questions are the first signs of brain damage caused by toxins due to impaired liver function. Advanced stages lead to coma

cirrhosis

Treatment

Liver cirrhosis therapy depends primarily on the cause and severeness of liver damage. Therapy may include the following:

Beta blockers and nitrates – these medication sare used to treat a common complication of cirrhosis called portal hypertension. This condition is characterized by hypertension in the hepatic portal system (a system of veins that come from the intestines to liver)

Intravenous antibiotics – medicines for the treatment of peritonitis, inflammation of the peritoneum due to ascites

Hemodialysis – a blood purification process

Stopping bleeding from esophageal veins

Treating alcoholism and avoiding any alcohol consumption

Treating hepatitis

Weight loss

As a last resort, liver transplantation is used. This procedure is performed if previous forms of therapy do not show results.

Stress

Stress

Stress is the way of our body‘s response to a challenge or threat. It is a mechanism that helps us survive in life-threatening circumstances, where the body uses all its system at maximum capabilities. It is actually a kind of self-protection, although people rarely see it in that way. In many life circumstances, it helps us stay focused, awake and alert. For example, when you‘re passing through large crowds or you‘re crossing a street, a small dose of stress provides security.

Eustress and distress

Eustress, also known as positive stress is one that promotes action, providing an opportunity to realize personal capacity. It induces motivation for personal growth and development through the effort to achieve individual goals.

Distress or negative stress can be divided into acute stress if it has a short but intense duration, or chronic stress if it lasts for a long time. In both cases, the person is affected by psychological suffering and pain, which can result in a health disorder in the form of the occurrence of some of the psychosomatic diseases.

Stages of stress

1. Alarm stage – This stage is characterized by preparing of the organism for fight or flight reaction. The level of hormones that increase the heart rate, respiration, muscle tension is elevated. A person feels restlessness, anger, anxiety, and/or fear.

2. Resistance stage – Resistance stage is less dramatic than the previous stage. It includes processes that enable the organism to cope with stress, people often emotionally isolate themselves and deny their feelings.

3. Exhaustion stage – Also known as burnout stage, the third stage is characterized by damaged functionality or physical/mental illness accompanied by loss of self-confidence and impaired sleeping habits.

Stress

Emotional symptoms

Negative emotions that are accompanied by psychical suffering, self-defeating behavior, and thoughts, as well as with physiological manifestations are emotional symptoms. There are no other symptoms of stress without emotion, so it represents its main symptom. It is always the first reaction to a stress inducer, and only after that, all the other symptoms such as behavioral, cognitive and physiological symptoms occur. Emotional symptoms are most often described as feelings of irritability, tension, helplessness, insecurity or anxiety.

Stress and cardiovascular system

In chronic stress, a norepinephrine (noradrenaline) secretion is elevated. Norepinephrine causes the increase of peripheral resistance, the secretion of renin, and angiotensin and aldosterone. Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system significantly increases the blood pressure leading to hypertension. Furthermore, sudden stress accelerates the heart while narrowing the blood vessels, increasing the risk of serious cardiovascular diseases or death in people who are already suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Various cardiovascular diseases including arrhythmia, angina, stroke, or heart attack may occur over time. Female hormone estrogen provides pre-menopausal women some protection against stress-related heart disease.

Stress

Reducing stress

Although it‘s often easier said than done, stress can be reduced with certain lifestyle choices. Some of the recommended tips include:

Relaxation – Even small inconveniences can induce stress in people who do not sleep and relax enough, so try to find time to relax, listen to some calming music, and search for relaxation techniques.

Positive attitude – Positive attitude can change your view of the world, and some stress inducers can be completely ignored if you stay positive.

Exercise – Exercise has positive effects on your mind and your body. You can always find a little time for light exercises.

Nutrition – A healthy, balanced diet benefits your body by maintaining the immune system.

Reduce intake of alcohol – Although it seems that alcohol can make your worries go away, it isn‘t the case. Alcohol can just make it worse, so it should be avoided.

Go out to nature – Spending time in nature can reduce stress, and going on sunlight can increase your mood.