What Is Hepatic Encephalopathy?
Hepatic encephalopathy is a condition in which brain functioning gets affected due to some liver disease. When your liver can not remove the toxins properly, they can build-up in your bloodstream. When this blood reaches the brain, it affects your brain functioning.
Hepatic encephalopathy has two types- acute and chronic. When the condition lasts only for a short term, it is called acute hepatic encephalopathy and when the condition lasts for a longer period of time, it is called chronic hepatic encephalopathy. If not treated at the right time, hepatic encephalopathy prognosis may result in the patient slipping into a coma.
Hepatic Encephalopathy Symptoms
Hepatic encephalopathy symptoms vary according to the underlying cause of liver disease. A few symptoms of moderate hepatic encephalopathy are:
- Difficulty while thinking
- Changes in personality
- Fall in concentration level
- Facing problems while handwriting and other small movements of the hand
- Keep forgetting things
- Poor level of judgment
- A sweet smell in breath
Severe hepatic encephalopathy symptoms include:
- Confused thinking
- Feeling lethargic
- Seizure attacks
- Severe changes in personality
- Confusion while speaking
Reach out for medical help if you notice any symptoms of severe hepatic encephalopathy.
Who Is At Risk?
There are a few risk factors that can increase the chance of a person developing this condition. The main risk factors are:
- Having a history of any liver disease
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Habits of eating food with high fats
- Recent surgery or trauma
Hepatic Encephalopathy Causes
The exact root cause of hepatic encephalopathy is unknown to the scientists so far. However, there are some reasons that trigger this condition.
One of the main functions of the liver is to remove toxic materials from the body. Toxins such as ammonia build up when proteins are broken down and used by the body. The liver changes these toxic materials into safer chemicals, which later are secreted out in the urine.
If your liver gets damaged due to one reason or the other, these toxins start getting building up in the body. These toxins reach your brain via the bloodstream and stop it from functioning properly.
A few conditions that trigger hepatic encephalopathy are:
- Pneumonia and other similar infections
- Problems of kidney
- Presence of less water than required in the body
- Low levels of oxygen
- Some kind of trauma of surgery
- Immune system suppressing medicines
- Taking food with an extra amount of protein
How Is Hepatic Encephalopathy Diagnosed?
Hepatic encephalopathy diagnosis is done by taking various tests. Though there is no one exclusive hepatic encephalopathy test, doctors take other tests of blood and liver that suggest the presence of hepatic encephalopathy. A few of them are:
- Blood tests: A complete blood test is done to check the count of your red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. If the test reports show a decreased count of red blood cells, it shows a loss of blood and a lack of oxygen reaching your brain.
- Imaging tests: Tests such as CT scan and MRI are done to check any abnormality in your brain.
- Liver function tests: If enzymes levels are found raise, it indicates improper functioning of your liver.
How Is Hepatic Encephalopathy Treated?
Hepatic encephalopathy treatment depends on the severity and the root cause of your condition. A simple treatment can be eating a diet with a proper amount of protein.
Hepatic encephalopathy medicine is also given to lower the rate at which toxins are absorbed in your blood. These medicines move toxins from your blood to your colon, where they are later removed through bowel movements.
If hepatic encephalopathy cure is not given at right time, the patient might end up in a coma.
If you are someone who is looking for the treatment of this condition, Care.Fit might be the right place for you. We have a team of specialist doctors who gives online consultation with digital prescriptions and medical records. Go to Care.Fit’s website or app to know more.
How Can Hepatic Encephalopathy be Prevented?
Hepatic encephalopathy prevention can only be done by taking care of your liver. A few methods that help you doing that are:
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Avoid foods with a high level of fats
- Maintain your weight
- Get hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccination
- Try avoiding needles that are already used