Cirrhosis is a serious condition that can lead to organ failure. It occurs when a scar tissue replaces a healthy liver tissue, which prevents the liver from working properly. Cirrhosis is a progressive disease, which means it gets worse over time.
Cirrhosis of the liver is usually caused by alcohol abuse or viral hepatitis. Fatty liver disease can also lead to cirrhosis. People with fatty liver disease have excessive fat in their liver cells, which can be caused by obesity, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Metabolic syndrome is another cause of cirrhosis.
A metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that increase the risk for heart disease and other health problems such as stroke and diabetes. People with metabolic syndrome often have excess belly fat, high blood sugar levels, and high blood pressure.
Cirrhosis can be asymptomatic in its early stages. However, when symptoms do occur, they may include fatigue, weakness, weight loss, jaundice, and easy bruising. Cirrhosis is diagnosed with a physical exam and imaging tests such as a CT scan or MRI. Treatment focuses on managing the underlying cause and relieving symptoms. In some cases, a liver transplant may be necessary.
Foods to Eat
Cirrhosis patients are often advised to eat a diet rich in fruits because fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Vitamins A, C, and E, and the mineral selenium, are particularly important for liver health. In addition, antioxidants help to protect cells from damage caused by oxidative stress, while fiber helps to promote bowel regularity.
All fruits are good for cirrhosis patients, but some are better than others. Citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges, are particularly beneficial because they are rich in vitamin C. Tomatoes are also a good choice because they contain lycopene. This antioxidant has been shown to protect against liver damage. Other good options include berries, melons, apples, and pears.
It is recommended that cirrhosis patients eat two to four servings of fruit per day. A serving of fruit is equivalent to one medium-sized fruit, one cup of cut-up fruit, or 1/2 cup of dried fruit. However, patients should avoid drinking fruit juice because it doesn’t contain any fiber and can cause gastrointestinal upset when consumed in large quantities.