While chronic liver disease, which includes cirrhosis, is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States according to the American Liver Foundation, it does not have to be fatal. Caught soon enough, there are many useful treatments available for patients.
Like any other disease, if chronic liver disease is diagnosed before too much scar tissue has formed on the liver (cirrhosis), your medical team can help to slow or even stop the progression. Here are some of the more common options for treating chronic liver disease:
- A carefully managed diet. One of the first things your doctor might suggest is to begin eating a well-balanced diet—one that is low in sodium and protein. These substances take much longer to pass through the liver and can cause more damage. You will also be encouraged to stop drinking any form of alcohol.
- Plenty of rest. The liver functions best when the body is at rest. For this reason, your doctor will suggest that you limit physical activity and allow your liver to do its work.
- The use of medications. If your liver problems stem from hepatitis, you will probably be given Interferon, which is useful for lessening your symptoms. Steroids, which help reduce inflammation, are also commonly used in treating chronic liver disease, as are antibiotics, beta blockers, and diuretics. For more advanced disease stages, lactulose may be used to help flush out toxins.
- Liver transplant. If the disease has progressed to the point that other treatments do not work, a liver transplant is the final recourse. However, it is important to note that this option is not open to all patients.
If chronic liver disease is preventing you or a loved one from holding a job, you might find the need to apply for Social Security disability benefits. The New England disability law team at Keefe Disability Law has been helping people in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island with SSA disability benefit applications and denials for more than 17 years. Call us today, toll free, at 888-904-6847 to schedule a free case review.