Dietetic Management for Cirrhosis of the Liver

What is cirrhosis of the liver?

Cirrhosis of the liver is the chain of events that are initiated by the necrosis of the hepatic cells. This results in the collapse, regeneration, fibrosis of the liver. In other words, the cirrhosis is the end result of the diffuse liver injury. It is secondary to the infections, toxins, malnutrition and decreased blood supply.

In old days, the exact cause of the cirrhosis was not known and hence it was called as cryptogenic cirrhosis. But recent studies have shown that the cause of the cirrhosis is due to the hepatic viruses. The hepatic viruses like the virus B, C and D may cause the liver disease like acute liver or chronic liver disease and progress to cirrhosis.

The consumption of alcohol is very dangerous to the liver. It is known that alcohol is a well known toxin to the liver. The rate of absorption of the alcohol in the liver depends on whether alcohol is consumed in empty stomach, diluted or sipped or drunk quickly. In the western culture consuming a total amount of 80 g per day for 15 years may lead to cirrhosis.

Another cause is the intake of groundnuts that are stored for a very long period in moist conditions. This is due to the fact that the ground nut will be contaminated with the fungi and bacteria. Recent studies have shown that the mal nutrition is also the main cause of cirrhosis. It further shows that the necrosis of the liver cells is caused due to the deficiency of the sulfur-containing amino acids.

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Dietetic management for cirrhosis

An essential part of the diet for liver cirrhosis is a high nutritive a high protein diet. For the regeneration of the liver cells, proteins are very essential. Proteins also help in the formation of the albumin and also aids in fighting anemia.

For a person with ideal weight and height, about 80 – 100 g of protein must be consumed. Meats like chicken and eggs are very high in protein and hence should be added to the daily diet. Other foods that are rich in proteins are milk and milk products, beans (dried), groundnuts and cereals. These protein rich foods are withdrawn from the patients if they are in coma or pre-coma stage. This restriction is done as soon as the first symptoms of unsteadiness are observed.

Foods that are allowed for the patients with liver cirrhosis are bread or chappatis made of wheat, rice and maize, cereal made of wheat or rice, rice, pulses, eggs, meat, milk and milk products, sugar, pastry, dessert, fresh fruits and dried fruits and beverages. The papads and pickles should be strictly avoided from the diet.