I was told I have cirrohsis of the liver. I read somewhere that leg pain and swelling is one of the symptoms. Does anyone know if that is true? I have not seen the liver specialist yet, but the pain is horrible.
Yes Kandi, cirrhosis can cause leg swelling and pain. This is referred to as EDEMA.
Cirrhosis can also result in fluid retention and swelling in the abdomen. This is called ASCITES.
Here is an excerpt from the Mayo Clinic website.
"The following may help decrease edema and keep it from coming back. Before trying these self-care techniques, talk to your doctor about which ones are right for you.
* Movement. Moving and using the muscles in the part of your body that's affected by edema may help pump the excess fluid back to your heart. Ask your doctor about exercises you can do that may reduce swelling.
* Elevation. Hold the swollen part of your body above the level of your heart for at least 30 minutes, three or four times a day. In some cases, elevating the affected body part while you sleep may be helpful.
* Massage. Stroking the affected area toward your heart using firm, but not painful, pressure may help move the excess fluid out of that area.
* Compression. If one of your limbs is affected by edema, your doctor may recommend you wear compression stockings, sleeves or gloves. These garments keep pressure on your limbs to prevent fluid from collecting in the tissue.
* Reduce salt. Follow your doctor's suggestions about limiting how much salt you consume.
* Avoid temperature extremes. Sudden temperature changes, very hot and very cold temperatures can make edema worse. Avoid hot baths, showers, hot tubs and saunas. Protect yourself from sunburn. Dress warmly when going out in cold temperatures and take precautions to protect yourself from frostbite."
"Treating edema usually involves:
* Treating the underlying cause of edema
* Taking medication to increase your kidneys' output of water and sodium (diuretics). Diuretics often used to treat edema include thiazide diuretics, furosemide (Lasix) and spironolactone.
* Limiting salt in your diet to decrease fluid retention, as recommended by your doctor
In some cases, diuretics may not be appropriate to treat edema, such as in people who have chronic venous insufficiency or in pregnant women."
If you have been diagnosed with liver cirrhosis you should follow up with a gastroenterologist or a hepatologist. Tests can determine the underlying cause of your cirrhosis such as alcohol, viral hepatitis or autoimmune hepatitis etc. You should also be examined for other possible symptoms of cirrhosis such as esophageal varices. Varices can be a very serious condition and one which should be diagnosed as soon as possible and treated if necessary,
Here is a list of possible symptoms of cirrhosis:
* Fluid buildup in the legs (edema) and the abdomen (ascites).
* Yellowing of the skin (jaundice).
* Itching (pruritus).
* Profuse nosebleeds (epistaxis).
* Redness of the palms.
* Small red spots and tiny lines on the skin called spider angiomas.
* Bleeding from enlarged veins (varices) in the digestive tract.
* Bruising easily.
* Weight loss and muscle wasting.
* Belly pain or discomfort.
* Frequent infections.
My advice is to get seen as soon as possible by either a gastroenterologist or a hepatologist.
I've had alcoholic cirrhosis for quite some time now. 12 years in fact and that was a great answer you just gave Kandi0227. You are either a doctor or have your facts together because that was the perfect answer. Tell me more about low protein prepared meals.
I copied and pasted most of what you read. I know some things because of my personal experience and the research I've done. I had a liver transplant in June 2000 - my underlying disease was Hepatitis C. I treated and eradicated the virus post transplant but it was a long fight. In the process I read constantly.
Traditionally it has been thought that restriction of protein is a benefit to cirrhotic patients because it reduces the risk of encephalopathy (mental confusion due to ammonia levels). As I said, I copied and pasted in my response and though I did look over the information I didn't take notice of the date so it might be outdated. Recent research has drawn into question the advisability of protein restricted diet for cirrhotic patients. Studies have shown little or no difference in encephalopathy between patients on a protein restricted diet and those without protein restriction. The worry some doctors have with protein restricted diets is that muscle wasting could occur due to protein deficiency. Some doctors recommend that protein should come from plant sources because it is easier to digest and absorb than is animal protein. I still believe that too much protein can cause nitrogen and ammonia buildup and affect brain function as a result of encephalopathy but just how much is too much is beyond my knowledge.
If I had cirrhosis I would consult with a hepatologist and ideally also with a nutritionist to determine the proper diet. We've always heard we should eat fresh vegetables and fruits and I think that probably applies to cirrhotic patients as well but I would seek an expert opinion to be sure.
Well Mike I did some searching yesterday and found a natural drug that is a vegetable capsule and came up with this one I might be interested in and it's offered though a company called Health Foods Unlimited. I know my doctor would disagree with this but I think I'm going to get some Solgar. It's a vegetable capsule with L-Ornithine 500mgs to supply the meat type of protein that causes most if not all my problems with elevated ammonia levels. I will also check into seeing a Hepatologist. Thanks for the information Mike. It's greatly appreciated. Mark (((sgtikee4)))
I would seriously consider waiting to start a supplement until I spoke with someone - preferably the hepatologist you plan on seeing. I don't know a lot - hardly anything really - about supplements, I have known people who ran into trouble with them and I have never seen any hard data showing a benefit. I have heard of anecdotal reports of benefit derived from supplements and I have no reason to believe that the people saying positive things were not being truthful. It's just a murky subject and my transplant center was quite emphatic that I not use any supplement without their approval and my interpretation was that approval would be unlikely. Of course, many people would say that is typical for the medical community and that they are predisposed against this stuff without good reason. Perhaps that is true but if I were cirrhotic I would check it out first with a liver specialist. You have to be careful Mark.
I wish you the best.
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