There is no other organ in the body that performs a wider variety of jobs than the lliver. It helps blood to clot, removes toxins, produces bile, aids in maintaining blood sugar levels and regulates several different hormones.
Fatty liver, Hepatitis C, and alcohol abuse are the most common causes of cirrhosis of the liver in the United States. Women are at greater risk of cirrhosis from drinking than men. The reason for this is unclear. However anything that causes damage to the liver can cause cirrhosis. Obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, chronic viral infections of the liver and repeated heart failure are just a few things that may cause your liver to be damaged.
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Although cirrhosis cannot be cured, your doctor may prescribe several medications to treat your cirrhosis which can slow the progression of liver disease. In addition to medications that treat cirrhosis, there are also several medications that aid in the treatment of complications that may arise from cirrhosis. Complications may include kidney failure, reduced oxygen to the blood, diabetes, excessive bleeding and bruising etc. It is important to keep all scheduled follow up appointments with your doctor. It is important to treat any or problems as they arise in order to prevent further complications.
There are medications to treat the causes of cirrhosis. For example, the medication Disulfiram, Naltrexone, and Acamprosate treat cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcohol abuse. These drugs will cause you to experience a negative reaction, or hangover type symptoms that are much worse than the usual hangover symptoms. Other medications to treat the causes of cirrhosis include antiviral medications, corticosteroids, and metal chelating agents.
Most medications are directed at treating the complications that arise from cirrhosis. Medications to treat the complications of cirrhosis include antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin, Vitamin K, blood coagulation medications, diuretics, beta blockers and laxatives. Additional medications may be prescribed for itching and infections as well as blood pressure medicine to lower the blood pressure and reduce the risk of internal bleeding.
There are also many different multivitamin/mineral supplements that may be recommended by your doctor. Taking multivitamins/minerals will help correct any deficiencies in your diet that may have developed as a result of liver disease. If alcohol consumption on a regular basis occurred than your doctor may also prescribe additional thiamine and folate. As always, consult with your doctor or a registered dietician before beginning a supplement routine.
If you are taking medications it is important to take them as directed. You should not change the amount of the medication or the schedule. It is good to know what possible side effects could occur as a result of taking the medication and you should always talk to your doctor prior to discontinuing any of your medications. Plan ahead for refills, especially if you are going to be on vacation. Additionally, medications can become dangerous when they are mixed. Talk to your doctor about all medications you are taking including any over the counter products.