What you need to know about liver cirrhosis

Posted at 09/02/14 1:09 PM

Mark Gil. File Photo

MANILA – Filipinos on Monday mourned the death of veteran actor Mark Gil, who succumbed to liver cirrhosis.

But what exactly is this disease?

Department of Health Undersecretary Janet Garin described liver cirrhosis as a slowly progressing disease that eventually prevents the organ from functioning properly.

But despite it being a serious condition, liver cirrhosis can be treated if detected early.

“In the case of the late Mark Gil, noong nalaman medyo late nang nakita,” Garin said in an interview on the ABS-CBN morning show “Umagang Kay Ganda” on Tuesday. “Sa regular checkup, makikita agad ‘pag merong initial changes.”

Here are some things you need to know about liver cirrhosis, as shared by Guarin:

Heavy drinking for men, hepatitis for women

Garin said men usually get liver cirrhosis, primarily because of heavy consumption of alcohol.

While there are also women who get the disease as a result of too much drinking, their liver cirrhosis is often traced back to hepatitis B.

“Mas marami talagang lalaki ang nagkaka-cirrhosis. At ‘yung mga lalaking nagkaka-cirrhosis, nanggagaling talaga siya sa alcohol,” Garin said. “Yung mga babae naman na nagkakaroon ng cirrhosis, usually it’s secondary to hepatitis B.”

She added that hepatitis B and liver cirrhosis, if left untreated, can lead to liver cancer.

Look for bruises, swelling of abdomen

Garin said early signs of liver cirrhosis include bruises and swelling in the abdomen and chest area.

She said that unfortunately, cirrhosis in its advanced stage can no longer be reversed.

“Actually ang cirrhosis is end-stage. Ibig sabihin, before ka mag-cirrhosis, nagkakaroon muna ng damage ‘yung atay,” she explained. “At ‘yung damage na ‘yun, irreversible ito.”

“Yung iba may lumalabas na konting mga mapupulang ugat. ‘Yung iba, lumalaki ang tiyan,” she added.

Drink less, eat healthy, have regular checkups

Garin said the best way to prevent cirrhosis is to take care of your own liver, which can be done with a healthy lifestyle.

Specifically, she said people should drink less alcohol, eat more fruits and vegetables, and have regular liver checkups.

“Yung regular checkup number one. Tapos ‘yung wastong pagkain o healthy diet. Meron ka talagang gulay at prutas sa iyong pagkain,” she said.

“Yung iba umiinom ng bitamina para sa atay para ma-prevent ‘yung complication,” she added. “Pero ang pinakaimportante, you have a healthy lifestyle. Iwasan mo talaga ‘yung pag-inom.”