Why change Diet in Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a condition that consists of the development of fibrosis to the point that there is architectural distortion with the formation of regenerative nodules in the liver. This results in a decrease in liver mass (due to decrease of liver cells), and thus function, and an alteration of blood flow.

The common causes of cirrhosis are alcohol abuse that cause alcoholic liver disease, chronic hepatitis C etc. Cirrhosis has a variety of clinical manifestations and complications, some of which can be life-threatening. In the past it was thought that the architectural distortions of cirrhosis are never reversible, but fortunately it has become apparent that when the underlying insult that has caused the cirrhosis has been removed (like successful treatment of chronic hepatitis C and stopping of alcohol consumption completely), there can be reversal of architectural distortions (mainly fibrosis).

The main objectives of a diet for cirrhosis are as follows:

  • To promote regeneration of liver cells by supplying adequate amount of nutrition through planning an appropriate diet for cirrhosis. Liver cells have tremendous capacity to regenerate, unlike many other organs, but for proper regeneration of liver cells, a suitable diet is basic need. Supply of adequate good quality protein is essential for regeneration of any cell, including liver cells (without protein the DNA and other important biomolecules can not be synthesized and without these biomolecules regeneration is not possible).
  • Due to architectural distortions of liver cells, generally there is nutritional deficiency in cirrhosis, which can hamper the proper regeneration of liver cells. By supplying adequate nutrition with planned diet the regeneration can be sped up. Nutritional deficiencies are also common among alcoholics (chronic alcohol use or abuse is the commonest cause of cirrhosis).
  • In a patient of cirrhosis fluid and electrolyte imbalance may be a problem, especially during the initial stage of management of cirrhosis. This electrolyte imbalance should be corrected through intake of fluids and by adequate diet.

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1 Comment

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