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Liver cirrhosis:

Definition:
Cirrhosis, a pathological condition defined by deranged hepatic architecture resulting from progressive fibrosis. Cirrhosis is the final common pathway through which nearly all chronic diseases of the liver produce morbidity and mortality.

What Complications Are Associated With Cirrhosis?
Complications associated with cirrhosis include:

Term definitions:
Variceal bleeding:
is caused by portal hypertension, which is an increase in the pressure within the portal vein. This increase in pressure is caused by a blockage of blood flow through the liver as a result of cirrhosis. Increased pressure in the portal vein causes branches of portal vein to enlarge (varices), such as those in the esophagus and stomach, to bypass the blockage. These varices become fragile and can bleed easily, causing severe hemorrhaging and result in fluid buildup in the abdomen.

Confused thinking and other mental changes (Hepatic encephalopathy ):most often occurs when cirrhosis has been present for a long time. Toxins produced in our intestines and ammonia are normally detoxified by the liver, but once cirrhosis occurs, the liver cannot detoxify as well. Toxins get into the bloodstream and can deteriorate brain function and cause confusion, changes in behavior and even coma.

Alcoholic Liver Disease:
Alcohol abuse is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. It is estimated that in the United States as many as 10 % of men and 3 % of women may suffer from persistent problems related to the use of alcohol.

Alcohol dependence: is indicated by evidence of tolerance and/or symptoms of withdrawal such as delirium tremens (DTs) or alcohol withdrawal seizures (rum fits) upon cessation of drinking.
Alcohol abuse is characterized by recurrent performance problems at school or on the job that result either from the after effects of drinking alcohol or from intoxication on the job or at school.

Alcohol affects many organ systems of the body, but perhaps most notably affected are the central nervous system and the liver. Almost all ingested alcohol is metabolized in the liver and excessive alcohol use can lead to acute and chronic liver disease. Liver cirrhosis resulting from alcohol abuse is one of the ten leading causes of death in the United States.

A 1981 double-blind study followed 106 Finnish soldiers with mild alcoholic liver disease. In the treated group, there was a significant improvement in liver function as measured by blood tests and biopsy. 19 Another study reported similar results.20 However, a study of 116 participants showed little to no benefit,21 as did another study of 72 people followed for 15 months.

Disease Test or Procedure:

Fatty liver (Non Alcoholic Steatohepatitis or NASH) Ultrasound
Liver Biopsy
Hepatitis A
Antibody Test (Blood Sample)
Hepatitis B
 
Antibody & Antigen Tests Hepatitis B DNA (Blood Sample)
Liver Biopsy if chronic to assess level of liver damage
Hepatitis C
 
Antibody Test/ Hepatitis C RNA (Blood Sample)
Liver Biopsy if chronic to assess level of liver damage
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
 
Biopsy/ Bile duct imaging
Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Biopsy/ Bile duct imaging
Autoimmune Hepatitis
 
Liver Biopsy
Wilson’s Disease
 
Genetic Analysis/ Copper studies (Blood and Urine Samples)
Alcohol Related Liver Disease
 
Liver Biopsy/ Liver Function Tests

Typical Liver Function Test :
Result Unit Reference:

AP (Alk Phos)............................................................... 30 to 120 U/L
GGT (Gamma GT)........................................................ 5 to 35 U/L
LD Lactate Dehydrogenase......................................... 100 to 225 U/L
AST (Aspartate aminotransferase)............................... 5 to 45 U/L
ALT (Alanine aminotransferase).................................. 5 to 45 U/L
Albumin....................................................................... 38-55 g/L
Total Bilirubin-Normal range is 3 - 18 umol/L.............. .0.174 - 1.04mg/dL   
Clotting Studies (Prothrombin Time)........................... 1 to 13.5 Seconds

Clinical Study (1989) 
Long-term treatment with silymarin significantly increased survival rates in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 105 people with cirrhosis.
Subjects took either 420 mg of silymarin daily or placebo during the study, which lasted for approximately 41 months.
Over a 4-year period, the mortality rate in the placebo group was twice that of the silymarin group. Silymarin showed the greatest benefit in those with alcohol-related cirrhosis. There appeared to be no difference in the results of liver function tests (transminases, bilirubin, SGGPT, and other liver enzymes) between the two groups. No side effects were reported.

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