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Cirrhosis of the liver
An important goal of therapy is to avoid further liver damage and to prevent the progression of liver damage, which can lead to hepatic coma and death. The gradual destruction of the liver can be stopped if the causes of the cirrhosis of the liver can be eliminated in a timely manner. In the initial stage, if the triggering cause is treated effectively, a regression of the fibrosis (formation of connective tissue) is possible. In the further course of the process, the progression of the liver damage can be prevented or, in many cases, a slow regression can be achieved.
Complications such as blood clotting disorders, bleeding, portal hypertension, ascites or hepatic encephalopathy must also be treated. The attending physician adapts the necessary medication to the liver dysfunction and, if necessary, discontinues stressful medication.
A drug treatment of cirrhosis of the liver, independent of the cause, is hardly possible and primarily has a supportive character.
Any consumption of alcohol should be strictly avoided, as it significantly worsens the course of the disease. Patients can also make an important contribution through a healthy, high-energy and protein-rich diet. A mineral and vitamin supplement (supplements) is also useful if there is a corresponding deficiency. Diet can also affect some complications. In the case of ascites, for example, a reduction in salt consumption and reduced fluid intake may be necessary. The doctor can provide precise information on this or refer to a dietician.
In the end-stage of liver disease, liver transplantation is the only treatment option for suitable candidates.
NoteBleeding from varicose veins in the esophagus or stomach is a life-threatening complication that requires immediate hospitalization. A gastroscopy is used to try to stop the bleeding and, if necessary, blood is administered.
How is long-term care provided for liver cirrhosis?
If you have known cirrhosis of the liver, certain examinations are carried out at regular intervals. The attending physicians make regular appointments for check-ups, which should be strictly observed.
It is important to repeatedly check the progression of the liver damage and to recognize possible complications early by means of blood tests and imaging examinations. Regular screening tests for hepatocellular carcinoma (AFP in the blood, liver ultrasound) are particularly important.
Control gastroscopy (gastroscopy) is often necessary to detect the formation of varicose veins in the esophagus or stomach and, if necessary, to treat them.
Vaccination against hepatitis A and B is urgently recommended for patients with liver cirrhosis in order to avoid further liver damage from a viral infection.
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