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One cannot live without a properly functioning liver. The liver is one of the largest organs in the body and the most exposed to toxins. The liver works to keep us healthy. It converts food into substances needed for life and growth. It stores glycogen and amino acids, performs protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

It also produces enzymes and bile, which help to digest food and neutralise toxins in the body. Some of the drugs we take are eliminated in the liver, especially the ones that are not capsules.

About 26,000 Americans die of cirrhosis of the liver and 21,000 others are diagnosed with primary liver cancer every year. Both liver Cirrhosis and cancer are on the rise all over the world and the prevalence is rising in Africa. This is as a result of westernised lifestyle, diet and environmental toxins. In Nigeria we do not have the exact statistics, however, Nwokediuko et al, reported in the ‘Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice’ that liver diseases accounted for 7.9 per cent of medical admissions, with primary liver cancer and liver cirrhosis accounting for 44.3 per cent and 20.4 per cent, respectively.

The main risk factors were alcohol consumption (52.1 per cent), hepatitis B virus infection (49.4 per cent), ingestion of herbs and roots (45.5 per cent) and cigarette smoking (30.1 per cent). These conditions affect men slightly more than women.

Liver cirrhosis is a medical condition in which the liver slowly deteriorates and begins to malfunction due to chronic injury from various sources. The injury eventually results in the formation of scar tissues within the liver which gradually replace healthy liver tissues and cause the organ to become hardened. This scar tissue formation is largely irreversible and impedes normal blood flow through the liver, preventing it from functioning properly.

Liver cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer, which is the growth and spread of abnormal cells in the liver. When cancer originates from the liver before spreading to other organs of the body, it is referred to as primary liver cancer. If cancer starts from some other organ and later spreads to the liver, it is referred to as secondary liver cancer.

The chronic liver injury that results in liver cirrhosis, which results in liver cancer, often arises from the following:

Chronic excessive alcohol consumption which results in alcoholic liver disease and Chronic Hepatitis B and C infections

Autoimmune hepatitis
Obstruction of bile ducts within the gall bladder
Exposure to toxins from consumption of unregulated ‘medicinal’ herbs and roots, improperly treated infections and side effects of certain drugs
Inherited illnesses, such as alpha-1-antrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease (excessive copper in the blood), galactosemia and glycogen storage disease
Prolonged exposure to environmental toxins, such as heavy metals like arsenic and lead.
Symptoms and signs of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer

In the early stages of the development of liver cirrhosis, most sufferers do not experience any remarkable symptoms. However, as scar tissues progressively replace the healthy tissues, the liver functions begin to decline and it is then that the individual may start to notice certain symptoms which eventually compels presentation at the hospital. Some of these signs and symptoms include:

Abdominal pain, which is worse on the upper right quadrant

Unexplained fatigue/weakness, excessive exhaustion with little exertion

Nausea

Yellowish discoloration of the eyes and skin (jaundice), with body itch and loss of appetite
Dark, Coca cola-colored urine
Accumulation of fluid in the limbs (edema) and in the abdomen (ascites)
Weight loss, especially in patients with liver cancer
Swelling of the abdomen (ascites)
Loss of interest in sex, impotence
Portal hypertension
Vomiting of blood
Yellowness of the eyes and skin (jaundice).
Investigations and Tests

In addition to taking a personal history of disease progression from the patient and carrying out a thoroughphysical examination, the doctor would prescribe various tests to be carried out to confirm clinical suspicion/ diagnosis and screen for liver cirrhosis and cancer. These include:

Blood tests (to measure bilirubin levels, check the levels of various blood cells and liver proteins, screen for Hepatitis B & C and others)
CT Scan and/or MRIto show the exact location of cancer within the liver as well as possible metastatic sites
Ultrasound scan
Liver biopsy
Laparoscopy in certain cases
While liver damage in cirrhosis is permanent and irreversible, liver cancer management aims to cure cancer when it is diagnosed and treated early using surgery, chemotherapy, etc. Treatment is dependent upon the cause and is designed to address any complications.

For many, the prognosis of liver cirrhosis /cancer is very poor, especially in developing countries. Sufferers present to the hospital only after the disease has progressed so far that very little can be done to help. The goal of treatment usually is to slow the progression of scar tissue formation and the onset of the complications of liver cancer.

Early presentation and diagnosis are essential to the successful treatment of liver cirrhosis and cancer. The principles of Modern Mayr Medicine emphasize the importance of being proactive with health and enhancing the body’s natural abilities to repair and rejuvenate itself when properly cared for. This is very important in cancer management as most conventional treatment options harm both the good and diseased cells of the body.

At the Mart-Life Detox clinic in Maryland, Lagos, modern Mayr medicine principles are incorporated into liver disease management, aiming to identify toxic agents that contribute to disease formation and make treatment difficult. Our tests help identify these toxic agents, detect food allergies/sensitivities and identify other potential diseases which may be presentin the preclinical state. Combining conventional management with proper nutrition and individualised diet plans, use of various Mayr therapies to optimise and maximise the functions of the body’s natural excretory organs, and appropriate use of orthomolecular supplementation all results in a holistic management approach that gives better outcomes. This is what Mayr detoxification is about.

At the Mart-Life Detox Clinic, harmful heavy metals and other liver toxins are safely removed from the body, while healthful nutrition and orthomolecular supplementation are used to regenerate healthy liver cells and protect the liver from further damage. A healthy diet is important in all stages of the disease management and this is an important part of Mayr therapy.

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