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Cirrhosis of the Liver

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Cirrhosis of the Liver essay assignment

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Cirrhosis is a late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions, such as hepatitis and chronic alcoholism. The liver carries out several necessary functions, including detoxifying harmful substances in your body, cleaning your blood and making vital nutrients. Cirrhosis occurs in response to damage to your liver. Each time your liver is injured, it tries to repair itself. In the process, scar tissue forms. As cirrhosis progresses, more and more scar tissue forms, making it difficult for the liver to function, (Huether, 2012).


High blood pressure in the veins that supply the liver. Cirrhosis slows the normal flow of blood through the liver, thus increasing pressure in the vein that brings blood from the intestines and spleen to the liver.  Swelling in the legs and abdomen.  Portal hypertension can cause fluid to accumulate in the legs and in the abdomen. Edema and ascites also may result from the inability of the liver to make enough of certain blood proteins, such as albumin, (Mayo Clinic, 2018).

Medication therapy:

If the cirrhosis is from drinking the doctor may subscribe medications like naltrexone and acamprosate.  If the cirrhosis is from hepatitis the doctor may prescribe interferon alpha 2b, pegylated interferon, and various Antiviral drugs. These medications are designed to attack the hepatitis virus. The drug the doctor prescribes depends on the type of hepatitis the patient may have. The most common side effects from these medicines are weakness, headache, nausea, and sleep problems, (Huether, 2012).

Patient Education:

Patients should avoid the consumption of alcohol.  The dietary choices should be plant-based with fruits and vegetables.  Whole grains and lean sources of protein are recommended. Patients should reduce their intake of fatty and fried foods.  Improper dieting can lead to excess body fat and excess body fat can damage the liver.  If the patient is obese, they should work with their doctor to build a weight loss plan.  If the patient has a diagnosis of hepatitis, patients should be educated on protecting others from the virus to prevent spreading it, (Iannelli & Schiavo, 2018).


American Liver Foundation. (2017). Cirrhosis of the Liver – Definition, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment. Retrieved from

Huether, S. E. (2012). Understanding pathophysiology. St. Louis: Elsevier.

Iannelli, A., & Schiavo, L. (2018). Very Low-Calorie Diet, the Morbidly Obese With Liver Cirrhosis and Bariatric Surgery. Transplantation102(4), e188-e189. doi:10.1097/tp.0000000000002065

Mayo Clinic. (2018, January 10). Cirrhosis – Symptoms and causes. Retrieved from

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