Many people are often confused between the two medical terms, psoriasis and cirrhosis. This is because, both the words when pronounced sound similar. Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease causing dry skin patches anywhere on the body with other symptoms such as joint pain, itching etc. Cirrhosis of liver is scarring of liver tissue, where the whole liver structure gets damaged.
Methotrexate is a medicine which is often used to treat psoriasis. However, a long term use is known to cause liver fibrosis and scarring. For this reason those who are taking this medicine are constantly monitored to detect early liver changes if any.
Apart from the above fact, modern day medical practitioners do not consider any similarity or association between this two disease entities.
Some naturopaths and herbal practitioners still believe that there is strong connection between improper function of liver (cirrhosis) and psoriasis. They believe that the autoimmune antibodies are probably responsible for the progressive nature of cirrhosis of liver.
However since the topic is full of controversies, we would focus on causes of cirrhosis of liver.
Causes Of Cirrhosis Of The Liver
- Alcohol: liver cell necrosis and collapse of hepatic cells are the initial changes seen in all alcoholic cirrhosis cases. Almost half the cirrhosis cases are caused due to excess consumption of alcohol for a long period.
- Viral hepatitis: infection with virus B, C, D run a chronic course and is associated with liver cell necrosis. Hepatitis A and E are however not to be blamed for liver cirrhosis.
- Infections: Schistosomiasis tends to produce hepatic fibrosis which may progress to a state of cirrhosis.
- Autoimmunity: many believe there is an association of cirrhosis with some autoimmune disease.
- Chemical poisons: there are many drugs and chemicals that can damage the liver cells, but few of them are actually known to cause liver cirrhosis.
- Metals: iron; hematochromatosis is an inborn error of iron metabolism. There is increase deposition of iron in the liver which precipitates in cirrhosis of liver.
- Galactosaemia: is another inborn error of carbohydrate metabolism which can lead to cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis Of The Liver Symptoms
In its early stages, liver cirrhosis may produce no symptoms at all. This is because even 10 percent of healthy liver cells are adequate for its function. Secondly after an injury, liver cell has capacity to regenerate very fast, perhaps the fastest of all body organs. Cirrhosis therefore takes long time before there is any obvious symptom noted.
- Jaundice: yellow discoloration of eye, skin and nails. This is caused due to excess accumulation of bilirubin in the blood.
- Person looks malnourished with weight loss.
- Accumulation of fluid in abdomen called ascites and retention of fluid in lower leg causes edema of feet.
- The nail may appear white rather than pink. There may be change in the shape of nails.
- The skin becomes dark.
- Spider naevus are dilated arteriole spots. When pressed they collapse temporarily. They are present on chest, abdomen, back, shoulder and upper arms. They may not be visible in dark skin patients.
- Abnormal bleeding from any orifices since the clotting time is delayed.
Treatment For Psoriasis Or Cirrhosis Of Liver
Prophylactic measures are valuable even after cirrhosis of liver has developed. Total abstinence from alcohol is stressed upon. After recovery from viral hepatitis, the patient must give up alcohol. Take high protein diet.
- Diet: diet rich in vitamin, mineral, and protein.
- Diuretics: prescription pills for flushing the retention of fluid. Use of potassium rich food such as fruit juice, coconut water, and vegetable soups helps to make up the lost potassium.
- Laxatives are advised to keep the bowels clean and prevent constipation as this may cause accumulation of toxins producing drowsiness, confusion and coma.
- Liver transplant may be the last alternative which is possible in many countries.