(4) Treatment. There is no one cure for cirrhosis. Instead, treatment tries to
prevent further deterioration of the liver. The causes of the problem should be
eliminated, if possible, in an effort to help the liver function as normally as possible. If
treatment begins early when the patient has mild and few symptoms, the chance of
recovery is good. Treatment begun later when the patient is jaundiced, experiencing
protein deficiency, and retaining fluid in the peritoneal cavity is not likely to be very
successful. General measures to be followed include:
Bed rest when fever occurs.
(b) High protein diet. Diet is very important in treatment. In addition to
high protein, the diet should include large amounts of carbohydrates and vitamins with
as little fat as possible. If the patient develops water retention, fluid and salt intake may
have to be restricted. Omit spices from the diet entirely.
Control or reduce severe itching (pruritus).
Hospitalize the patient if necessary.
b. Hepatitis. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. This disease can be caused
by viruses, drugs, and chemicals, including alcohol. Hepatitis can cause damage to the
intestines and other organs; however, the greatest damage is done to the liver cells.
These cells may be so badly damaged that they die. In fatal cases, the liver has been
damaged so severely that the normal functions of bile secretion or excretion have not
occurred. Consequently, jaundice developed in addition to the metabolic dysfunction
which caused the death of liver cells. Refer to Lesson 7, Hepatitis, in this subcourse for
further information on this liver disease.
3-22. GALLBLADDER DISEASES AND DISORDERS
a. Acute Cholecystitis
(1) Definition. Acute cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder. In
ninety percent of the cases, this condition is associated with gallstones.
(2) Etiology. Usually, gallstones lodge in the neck of the gallbladder or the
cystic duct and interfere with bile drainage. If the obstruction is not removed, pressure
builds up in the gallbladder, and inflammation develops. Acute cholecystitis may
develop at any age, but it is most common among fair- complexioned women who are
overweight and over forty.