According to the National Center for Health Statistics, cirrhosis and chronic liver disease is the 11th leading cause of death. As per their latest data published in 2006 - there were over 26,500 deaths in the US alone for 2004.
The liver is a vital organ that filters pollutants from the blood, maintains glucose levels, assists in blood clotting, stores vitamins, processes fats and produces urea among hundreds of other functions. Cirrhosis occurs when the liver's tissues get scarred due to alcohol abuse, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, drugs and chemicals, blocked bile ducts, genetic disorders such as haemochromatosis, Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, Wilson disease, galactosemia, and glycogen storage diseases.
Steps to treat and prevent cirrhosis:
Abstain from alcohol
- Alcohol abuse is the single most important reason for liver damage. Up to 100 percent of heavy drinkers show evidence of fatty liver, about 10 to 35 percent develop alcoholic hepatitis, and 10 to 20 percent develop cirrhosis. (Ref: Grant, B.F.; Dufour, M.C.; & Harford, T.C. Epidemiology of alcoholic liver disease. Seminars in Liver Disease 8(1):12-25, 1988.)
Change your diet
- Reduce sodium in your diet drastically. Avoid canned and packaged foods. Use salt sparingly while cooking and seasoning. Eat several small meals a day. Take adequate protein. Reduce fat. Blood sugar levels may be too high or too low. Eating carbohydrates in moderation at every meal will help to control blood sugar levels. You must be well nourished as liver damage can cause you to inadequately process nutrients and lose weight.
- Various herbs like capers, wild chicory, tamarisk, milk thistle are recommended as herbal remedies for liver damage. The ayurvedic formulation Liv 52 which is a combination of multiple herbs and minerals known for their benefits for the liver, is also well known for detoxification and liver support in cirrhotic and pre-cirrhotic conditions. Its ingredients include Capers (Capparis spinosa), Wild chicory (Cichorium intybus) Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), Negro coffee (Cassia occidentalis), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Tamarisk (Tamarix gallica)