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Cirrhosis is a condition in which the liver slowly deteriorates and malfunctions due to chronic injury. Scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue, partially blocking the flow of blood through the liver.

Scarring also impairs the liver’s ability to
• control infections
• remove bacteria and toxins from the blood
• process nutrients, hormones, and drugs
• make proteins that regulate blood clotting
• produce bile to help absorb fats—including cholesterol—and fat-soluble vitamins

A healthy liver is able to regenerate most of its own cells when they become damaged. With end-stage cirrhosis, the liver can no longer effectively replace damaged cells. A healthy liver is necessary for survival.

Cirrhosis is not caused by trauma to the liver or other acute, or short-term, causes of damage. Usually years of chronic injury are required to cause cirrhosis. Alcohol-related liver disease, chronic hepatitis B, C or D, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis, diseases that damage or destroy bile ducts, inherited diseases or drugs, toxins and infections may lead to cirrhosis of liver.

As the disease progresses, a person may experience symptoms like weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pain and bloating when fluid accumulates in the abdomen, itching and spiderlike blood vessels on the skin.

Nutritional Management in Liver Cirrhosis
The goals of treatment are to slow the progression of scar tissue in the liver and prevent or treat the complications of the disease.

• Because malnutrition is common in people with cirrhosis, a healthy diet is important in all stages of the disease. Health care providers recommend a meal plan that is well balanced.

• If ascites develops, a sodium-restricted diet is recommended.

• To improve nutrition, the doctor may add a liquid supplement taken by mouth or through a naso-gastric tube.

• People with cirrhosis are encouraged not to consume any alcohol or illicit substances, as both will cause more liver damage.

• Because many vitamins and medications—prescription and over-the-counter—can affect liver function, a doctor should be consulted before taking them.

• Diets high in fat for people with cirrhosis may cause potential digestion problems. So moderate amounts of fat should be taken that too in form of unsaturated fats MUFA & PUFA.

• Amount of protein to be given to the patient depends on the liver’s ability to metabolize. If patient can tolerate good amount of high quality protein can be given as it helps in rehabilitation of liver cells otherwise amount has to be kept low according to the doctor’s recommendation.

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