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You have been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis is a chronic (long-lasting) liver problem that occurs when liver tissue is destroyed and replaced by scar tissue. Causes of cirrhosis include infection such as viral hepatitis, chronic alcoholism, and genetic diseases. Signs of cirrhosis may be absent or only mild at first, but they usually get progressively worse. Cirrhosis is likely to occur if you have a history of alcohol abuse. Cirrhosis can’t be cured, but it can be treated.
Don’t drink alcohol. If you stop drinking now, you will feel better and live longer.
Find out about local support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous in the phone book or online at www.aa.org.
Ask your doctor about medication that can help you quit drinking.
Cut back on salt.
Limit canned, dried, packaged, and fast foods.
Don’t add salt to your food at the table.
Season foods with herbs instead of salt when you cook.
Take your medications exactly as directed.
Talk to your doctor about vitamin supplements as well as any over the counter medications.
Avoid aspirin and other blood-thinning medications.
Ask your doctor about what kind of diet you should follow. You may be asked to limit or not eat certain foods.
Ask your doctor about receiving vaccinations for other liver diseases.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff for lab tests, imaging of your liver (ultrasound every 6 months), and endoscopy to evaluate for varices.
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:
Fatigue, weakness, or lack of appetite
Vomiting (with or without blood)
Yellowing of your skin or eyes (jaundice)
Swelling in your abdomen or legs
Black or tarry stools
Skin that bruises easily
Confusion or trouble thinking clearly