Cirrhosis of the Liver Essay

I always believed that a person who’s diagnosed with a terminal illness like cirrhosis of the liver came from alcohol, but I was wrong. I later found out with the death of my grandmother that people who don’t drink can get cirrhosis of the liver. It was hard as my family and I to sit back and watch my grandmother as she dealt with this disease. For a long time we didn’t know exactly what to do as we watched our loved one perish, so we looked up information on this disease.

Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver that involves the formation of fibrous (scar) tissue associated with the destruction of the normal architecture of the liver (Maxton & Butterworth). As the battled continued for my grandmother with this disease, we later found out the causes of this disease. Common causes of Cirrhosis of the Liver are: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), chronic alcoholism, and chronic viral hepatitis.

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Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is a condition that causes inflammation and accumulation of fat and fibrous tissue in the liver, NASH occurs in those who drink little to no alcohol (Travis, 2011). My grandmother Dothie Swanigan died from Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which there is no known cause as to where this came from. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is seen more frequently in people with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance, in which my grandmother was diabetic.

Chronic alcoholism is a very common cause of cirrhosis, particularly in the Western world. The development of cirrhosis depends upon the amount and regularity of alcohol intake (Lee). Chronic viral hepatitis is a condition where hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus infects the liver for years. Some patients infected with hepatitis B virus and most patients infected with hepatitis C virus develop chronic hepatitis, which in turn causes progressive liver damage, and leads to cirrhosis, and sometimes liver cancers (Lee).

People with liver problems tend to have signs and symptoms because of cirrhosis. While looking at my grandmother as she suffered from Cirrhosis of the liver, we watched as her symptoms progress from her abdominal pains, her skin turning yellow, fatigue, and her body aching tremendously. My grandmother not only had those symptoms, she also suffered from sensitive skin, improper kidney function, bleeding from her nose and mouth, and toxic poison from her kidney. The view point in which I gained as I watched my grandmother suffer from this terminal illness was terrible.

Other symptoms were she could not walk, use the bathroom without a Cather, and throw back up the food that she has eaten. Suffering from Cirrhosis can also make you delusional, in which my grandmother became delusional all the time. One of the most important symptoms that we noticed was how her stomach swelled from her liver. For the many people whose suffering from this disease treatment is there for people who want or need help. Treatments for people who suffer from Cirrhosis of the Liver are: preventing further damage to the liver, treating the complications of cirrhosis, and Liver transplantation.

In order for a person to prevent further damage to their liver they would need to eat healthy, be on a well-balanced diet, take their multi-vitamins, avoid drugs (including alcohol) that cause liver damage, and immunize patients with cirrhosis against infection with hepatitis A and B to prevent a serious deterioration in liver function (Lee). Treating the complication of cirrhosis would be if a patient is on a restrict dietary salt and fluid to decrease edema and ascites, or take medications such as Diuretics which is used to work in the kidneys to promote the elimination of salt and water into the urine (Lee).

Another treatment in which a person who has cirrhosis of the liver should consider is a liver transplant, in which you do if your liver is too far gone. Dothie Swanigan would have been an excellent candidate for a liver transplant if she didn’t have a high protein level, the fatty tissues in her liver, and all the other complication she had going on with her body. In conclusion you have read my story about how my grandmother battled with Cirrhosis of the liver, what caused her to have Cirrhosis of the Liver, the symptoms she experienced, and treatments people can get if they encounter Cirrhosis of the Liver.

As I stated in the beginning I was wrong about how people come in contact with Cirrhosis of the Liver, there are many causes to why people can get Cirrhosis. I also spoke up on the symptoms we encountered as we watched my grandmother, as well as the treatments that could have been done for her. In my grandmother case she was one of the ones who lost the battle to Cirrhosis, but she will forever be loved and remembered. When dealing with terminal illnesses be aware of what you are dealing with, educate yourself on the subject, and be prepared to deal with the outcome of the situation.