What is Hepatic Encephalopathy?
What is Hepatic Encephalopathy? Hepatic Encephalopathy is a term that means brain abnormalities or disease. This term not only refers to one disease, but rather describes various brain dysfunctions. The coverage of hepatic encephalopathy is also very extensive, may be temporary, recurrent, or even permanent brain damage.
Most hepatic encephalopathy can not be cured. However, early diagnosis and treatment early in the onset of encephalopathy symptoms will improve the effectiveness of treatment steps. Proper handling and as soon as possible can help control symptoms or even heal.
Symptoms of Hepatic Encephalopathy
All people of all ages can experience hepatic encephalopathy with diverse symptoms. Typical symptoms are changes in psychiatric conditions that generally include loss of concentration, impaired coordination of movement, and loss of the ability of the mind to decide something.
Changes in psychiatric conditions can occur slowly and gradually, or drastically and in a short period of time. Other clinical signs or symptoms, for example:
- Weak muscles in one part of the body.
- Difficult to swallow or speak.
- Body parts are twitching.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately go to the hospital to be handled as soon as possible. Especially if you have convulsions, coma, or muscle weakness.
Causes and Types of Hepatic Encephalopathy
Brain abnormalities can be caused by various factors and conditions. Here are some types of hepatic encephalopathy based on the cause.
- Bilirubin encephalopathy due to high levels of bilirubin in the body.
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy from trauma or injury to the brain.
- Glycine encephalopathy is triggered by glycine levels in the brain that are too high.
- Hashimoto’s encephalopathy, an autoimmune condition that attacks the thyroid gland.
- Hepatic encephalopathy from liver disease.
- Hypertensive encephalopathy due to hypertension.
- Encephalopathy from the brain that lacks oxygen.
- Uremic encephalopathy due to renal failure.
- Lyme encephalopathy as a complication of Lyme disease due to the spread of bacterial infections from lice.
- Static encephalopathy is a permanent brain damage. This condition occurs due to the brain lack of oxygen. For example in a fetus exposed to alcohol content.
- Metabolic toxic encephalopathy due to infection, toxin, or organ failure.
- Transmitted encephalopathy (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or Prion disease) from a contagious substance made from a protein called a prion, which can progressively attack the brain. Examples of prions that attack animals lead to mad cow disease. While prions that attack in humans, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
- Wernicke’s encephalopathy due to vitamin B1 deficiency.
Diagnosis Process Hepatic Encephalopathy
Like other diseases, the diagnosis of hepatic encephalopathy begins with a doctor who asks for symptoms and a patient’s and family’s health history. If assessed requires further examination, the doctor will usually recommend a series of tests in the form of:
- A complete blood test to check for the presence or absence of a potential underlying cause, such as anemia, vitamin deficiency, liver function, sugar levels, and infections.
- CT and MRI scan.
- Lumbar puncture test to take spinal fluid samples.
Treatment of Hepatic Encephalopathy
Treatment for hepatic encephalopathy varies and depends on a variety of causes. Treatment steps can include the provision of drugs and supplements to surgical procedures, in accordance with the type and trigger conditions.
If hepatic encephalopathy is caused by the brain lack of oxygen, the recommended treatment step is oxygen therapy. While hepatic encephalopathy due to kidney failure may require kidney transplant surgery to cope.
Prevention of Hepatic Encephalopathy
There are partially preventable encephalopathies with simple steps. For example, hepatic encephalopathy due to renal failure, metabolic, or hypertension.
These types of hepatic encephalopathy can be avoided by applying a healthy and balanced diet, stop consuming alcoholic beverages, regular exercise, and undergo regular medical examinations.