Common health issue

What Is Meant By Ascites? What Should People Know About It?

What is Ascites

What Is Meant By Ascites?

Ascites can be defined as the abnormal accumulation of fluid within the peritoneal cavity. It is a common problem in patients with various medical issues; approximately 80% of patients with cirrhosis of the liver develop ascites.  as liver cirrhosis. Ascites are usually treated by lowering salt in the diet and never develop ascites.

What Are The Risk Factors For The Development Of Ascites?

Common risk factors for the development of ascites are any disease that can cause the person cirrhosis of the liver, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, alcohol, and other conditions that lead to fluid development that as congestive heart failure and kidney failure. Cancer of organs in the abdominal cavity may also show the person to develop ascites.

What Causes Ascites?

The most common cause of ascites is liver disease. Although the exact mechanism of ascites development is not entirely understood, most theories suggest portal hypertension, which means increased pressure in the liver blood flow to the liver as the primary contributor. The increase in portal blood pressure and decrease in the albumin may be responsible for forming the pressure gradient and resulting in the ascites.

Other factors that may contribute to ascites are salt and water retention; The circulating blood volume may be perceived as low by the sensors in the kidney as the formation of ascites may deplete some volume from the blood. This signals the kidneys to reabsorb more salt and water to compensate for the volume loss. Some other causes of ascites related to increased pressure gradient are congestive heart failure due to fluid retention in the body. It also manifests as a result of cancers which are called malignant ascites. This type of ascites is typically a manifestation of cancer of organs in the abdominal cavity, such as colon, stomach, ovarian, breast, and lung cancer.

What Are The Symptoms Of Ascites?

Most people who develop ascites develop a large belly and also experience a rapid gain in weight. In contrast, some people may also develop swelling of the ankles and shortness of breath.

How Are Ascites Diagnosed?

Ascites is diagnosed based on the physical examination by taking a medical history, blood tests, ultrasound or CT scan, and paracentesis. Paracentesis is a procedure in which the needle is inserted through the abdominal wall and fluid is removed where the fluid removed from the abdominal wall is examined for signs of infection, cancer, or other medical problems.

What Are The Best Treatments For Ascites?

Limit the salt amount in your diet. The most crucial step to teat ascites is drastically reducing salt intake. Recommended limits are 2,000 mg or less a day, while seeing a nutritional specialist is helpful because the salt content in foods is difficult to determine. Salt substitutes can be used which do not contain potassium.

Often the patient will require diuretics to treat ascites and take the water pills as prescribed. Common diuretics are Aldactone and Furosemide, which cause problems with your electrolyte and kidney function. Taking these pills is not a substitute for reducing your salt intake, whereas both are needed dot treat ascites. Other more aggressive treatment includes:

  • Paracentesis– Sometimes, fluid builds up in the abdominal cavity despite diuretics and a restricted salt diet. In these cases, the patient may need paracentesis to remove a large amount of fluid.
  • Surgery– Surgical placement of tube between the central and smaller veins is used as a treatment. A radiologist can place a shunt directly through the liver, relieving portal hypertension that helps diminish the ascites. All organs of the body are body able to perform their functions by increasing the blood flow.
  • Liver transplant– This treatment is an approach for a patient with very severe cirrhosis whose liver is failing.

What Are The Complications Of Ascites?

  • Abdominal pain, Discomfort, and difficulty breathing in these problems may occur when too much fluid is up in the abdominal cavity. It may limit the patient’s ability to eat, walk and perform day-to-day activities.
  • Infection- The fluids that build up in the gut as a result of ascites could become infected with bacteria which this condition is called spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.
  • Fluid in the lung- This condition is called hepatic hydrothorax, where the abdominal fluid fills the lung mainly on the right side.
  • Kidney failure- Worsthe liver cirrhosis can lead to kidney failure, a hepatorenal syndrome. It is a rare case but a severe condition.