When an individual has a problem with their liver that prevents it from functioning properly, they can develop hepatic encephalopathy, which is the build-up of toxins in the brain. The build-up is caused by the liver not being able to filter out the toxins, which are then usually excreted from the body. This build-up results in mental and physical symptoms, including confusion and slurred speech. It is a serious condition and needs to be treated aggressively. Without being addressed, hepatic encephalopathy can lead to significant deficits and even coma. Hepatic encephalopathy is a debilitating condition that can strip an individual of being able to function. Here are a few ways to try to get hepatic encephalopathy under control and restore some otherwise diminished functionality for individuals suffering from the condition.
Consume Less Protein
If a patient has hepatic encephalopathy, they may be required to consume less protein. When they consume protein, it takes more effort and produces more intestinal ammonia, which is usually processed through the liver and excreted from the body. However, if the liver is not functioning properly and the toxins cannot be filtered out of the blood, the ammonia travels to the brain, where it can cause irreversible damage to the brain. This build-up of ammonia in the brain contributes to hepatic encephalopathy. Doctors will need to evaluate the patient’s history to determine if protein reduction is appropriate. This evaluation is necessary because by restricting protein, a patient could suffer from malnutrition. Other strategies for reducing protein include eating more vegetable protein than animal protein. But, if the patient is suffering from hepatic encephalopathy, any help that can be given to ease the stress of the liver is recommended. Whatever the case, every patient needs to be evaluated on their personal medical history.
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