Q:

What diet should be given to a patient with cirrhosis of the liver?

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Quick Answer

Patients with cirrhosis of the liver should typically eat a diet rich in protein, particularly protein that comes from vegetables or dairy, explains the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Cirrhosis patients should avoid sodium and may need to eat many small meals during the day to help with digestive issues.

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Full Answer

Those with cirrhosis of the liver should avoid drinking alcohol, whether their cirrhosis was caused by an overindulgence of alcohol or not, according to Mayo Clinic. Ingesting further alcohol is likely to increase the damage to the liver. Cirrhosis sufferers should focus on a plant-based diet, making sure they get enough nutrients, since cirrhosis can cause malnutrition. They should also avoid eating raw seafood.

Patients with cirrhosis require a great deal of protein to help the liver rebuild itself, as the Canadian Liver Foundation points out. However, in some cases, when blood is rerouted around the liver as a result of scarring caused by the cirrhosis, the liver is unable to process proteins, resulting in too great an amount of ammonia and amino acid reaching the brain. When this occurs, doctors must monitor the amount of protein ingested and typically prescribe drugs such as lactulose or neomycin to help reduce ammonia levels in the blood.

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