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Cirrhosis, Weight Gain, Ascites, and Diet Tips

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  • scarletpaolicchi
    Cirrhosis, Weight Gain, Ascites, and Diet Tips Article from http://www.healthyhepper.com/cirrhosisweightgain.htm Cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, can lead
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 30, 2009
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      Cirrhosis, Weight Gain, Ascites, and Diet Tips
      Article from http://www.healthyhepper.com/cirrhosisweightgain.htm

      Cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, can lead to abdominal fluid accumulation
      (ascites) and subsequent distention and weight gain. Cirrhosis, which is caused
      by liver disease such as Hepatitis C, is managed through diet and/or prescription drugs
      with liver transplantation as the last solution.

      As pointed out in research from the Department of Internal Medicine, Division
      of Gastronterology and Hepatology, University of California, Davis Medical
      Center, "accumulation of fluid as ascites is the most common complication
      of cirrhosis. This is occurring in about 50% of patients within 10 years
      of the diagnosis of cirrhosis."

      I really wanted to understand what caused this fluid retention and they
      explain it in very technical terms: "The most acceptable theory for
      ascites formation is peripheral arterial vasodilation leading to under-
      filling of circulatory volume. This triggers the baroreceptor-mediated
      activation of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, sympathetic nervous
      system and nonosmotic release of vasopressin to restore circulatory
      integrity. The result is an avid sodium and water retention, identified
      as a preascitic state. This condition will evolve in overt fluid retention
      and ascites, as the liver disease progresses."

      So here is a translation into simpler terms. First the "under-filling of the
      circulatory volume" happens as cirrhosis progressively scars the liver and its ability
      to effectively filter blood is reduced resulting in a reduced volume of blood and
      lowered blood pressure. The body then releases vasopressin which retains salt and
      fluid to try to counter the lowered circulatory volume pressure. The fluid
      retention is worsened because as cirrhosis progresses and the liver produces less
      albumin it results in fluids seeping out of the leg and abdomen tissues.

      Ascites not only causes weight gain but can cause several other medical conditions
      such as hepto hydrothorax (fluids in the lungs), hernias, infection, and
      difficulty breathing. The fluid retention may also show in the legs called
      edema as well as the abdomen (ascites).

      Once ascites is present, most therapeutic modalities are directed on
      maintaining negative sodium balance, including salt restriction, bed rest
      and diuretics. Paracentesis and albumin infusion is applied to tense
      ascites. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt is considered for
      refractory ascites.

      Here are some Cirrhosis Diet Tips and Natural Solutions for Reducing Ascites
      (and therefore weight gain):
      1. Reducing salt intake! Doctors typically advise limiting salt intake to 4-5 grams
      per day (2,000 mg of sodium) or less. Don't forget that most processed and canned
      foods have lots of salt so try making your own food. Its better for you in lots
      of other ways too! You can try squeezing a little fresh lemon juice on your food
      if you miss the sour flavor. Skipping the salt makes a HUGE difference to
      fluid retention.

      2. Dandelion Root Extract is a bitter herb that will not only flush your liver
      out of toxins, it will also help you drain the excessive fluids your body is
      taking on. As with most diuretics you need to supplement with a banana a day.
      Do not take with Lasix.

      3. Use of diet to help alleviate the fluid retention and therefore weight gain
      should should also include reducing protein intake and/or consuming mostly whey
      protein. Whey protein is the most easily assimilated form of protein for cirrhosis of
      the liver and also it will give you the albumin you need that your liver no
      longer makes. This loss of albumin in your body is what contributes to fluid
      accumulation, ascites, in your abdomen.
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