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 toxins build up in the brain, handwriting might become less clear and shaky.
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”.
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.