Conventional Therapy Of Liver Diseases

Conventional therapy of liver diseases

Liver diseases don’t have many conventional treatment options. Most of these diseases are avoided through prevention. However medicine has been able to advance and discover treatments for many of the serious diseases that cause chronic liver disease and liver failure.

All liver diseases require a lot of rest and serious diet modifications. The rest is essential as the liver can’t put up with the metabolic demands of the body. Increased stress and work would lead to increased production of toxic metabolites in the body which the liver won’t be able to excrete out.  This increases the dysfunction of liver and worsened jaundice.

Coming to dietary modifications, it is very important to cut down on foods that will add stress on the liver. Complex foods like meats and fatty foods need to be completely avoided. This is because proteins have ammonium by products which are converted into urea by the liver.

Since there is dysfunction of liver, this process cannot occur thus increasing the toxicity of metabolites in the body. Oily food cannot be well digested because liver is unable to produce enough bile to break down the food. This is why the diet consists of simple boiled vegetables, semisolid simple foods with fruit juices at short intervals. This diet should stay till jaundice clears out, which may take up till 40 days. Alcohol must be completely avoided as this may put an irreversible stress and injury to the liver.

Viruses like Hepatitis A and E just require this supportive management. The main idea is to maintain proper fluid levels with electrolytes and nutrition so that body has enough energy to heal the damaged liver. However, care must be taken that medicines affecting liver function need to be completely stopped.

Medicines for tuberculosis infections and cholesterol reducing drugs are one of the prominent drugs for liver dysfunction. Hepatitis A also has a vaccine which is given at 2 years and provides best immunity in places with high risk of Hepatitis A. Hepatitis E has no prevention as yet.

Hepatitis B and C are chronic diseases which are not self-limiting. These diseases are treated with strong drugs like anti-viral drugs and interferon. While anti-viral drugs block the production of the hepatitis virus, interferon helps in strengthening the immunity by increasing t killer cells and killing the virus infected cells.

These drugs have really strong side effects which range from flu like symptoms to heavy frequent vomiting. Hepatitis B currently has a great vaccine which is given at birth and during infancy, but booster shots could be repeated if the person is in a high risk area for Hepatitis B. The treatment for Hepatitis B and C is only effective when it is diagnosed at an early stage.

Alcoholic liver disease and chronic liver disease basically is all about providing supportive treatment and management. The major intervention is to completely quit the intake of alcohol and let the liver heal on its own.

For liver cancers and tumors an aggressive chemotherapy is used to limit the growth of cancer. Other options include excision of the arteries supplying the tumor which shows good prognosis. Every hospital has its different protocol of managing liver cancer patients.

The last option is the treatment by liver transplant. This field of treatment is comparatively newer and rarer. This requires a complete match of the donor and recipient.  Since liver has the ability to grow on its own, this treatment shows very good prognosis if everything else is taken care of. Next article would discuss alternative treatment options for liver.

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