Cirrhosis sufferer explains his previous relationship with alcohol
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The British Liver Trust said: “Many people with advanced liver disease have some degree of Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE).” This is essentially a decline in brain function . A severely damaged liver can no longer remove toxins from the blood, which causes mental and physical symptoms of HE. As more t oxins build up in the brain , handwriting might become less clear and shaky.
Another sign of mental decline, due to fatty liver disease, could include “being slightly sleepy”.
Such subtle signs might be hard to notice on your own, but someone close might be aware that something is affecting you.
For example, a person with advanced liver disease might struggle to concentrate or to remember things.
In addition, the ability to perform well in word games or calculations might deteriorate.
Fatty liver disease may lead to shaky handwriting in its advanced stages (Image: Getty)
A person affected by advanced liver disease might also seem less “with it” and alert.
Moreover, it could cause the person to become a bit teary and more emotional than usual.
Furthermore, the individual might feel drowsy during the day but alert at nighttime.
More advanced symptoms can include:
A tremor that prevents you holding a drink without spilling it
- Personality changes
- Staggering or falling
These signs of worsening liver function are best discussed with your GP as soon as possible.
The National Organisation for Rare Disorders (NORD) highlighted that many symptoms of HE are “reversible when promptly identified and treated”.
NORD added: “Researchers now believe that as many as 70 percent of individuals with cirrhosis develop symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy [HE].”
The Liver Foundation did warn that “progression may not stop despite best efforts”.
Memory issues could also be a sign of dementia (Image: Express)
What is cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is extensive scarring of the liver that replaces soft, healthy tissue.
The scarred tissue can’t change toxins into harmless substances, and it can also block blood flow through the liver.
Common signs of cirrhosis include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Spider-like blood vessels
- Severe itching
- Bruising and bleeding easily
- Painful swelling of the legs
Cirrhosis might lead to symptoms of HE if the condition is triggered in some way.
Moderate alcohol intake if you’d like to steer clear of advanced liver disease (Image: Express)
Triggers include infections, constipation, dehydration, an alcohol binge, or surgery.
There is no specific test to diagnose HE; the GP will take into account:
- Your medical history
- A thorough clinical exam
Blood tests can also identify abnormalities associated with liver dysfunction.
HE is diagnosed through an exclusion of other health conditions, so the sooner you see a GP, the better.
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