What Is Hepatic Encephalopathy?

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Your brain and liver and more connected than you may think. When the liver is damaged or diseased and can no longer remove toxins from the blood adequately, the brain can be affected. This is because toxins can build up in the bloodstream when the liver is out of commission, and those toxins can travel to the brain.

When this happens, it can lead to brain damage. In some cases, the brain damage is referred to as hepatic encephalopathy. When treated early, hepatic encephalopathy can be reversed and often resolves within days or weeks. However, it does require emergency care and should not be treated lightly.

1. What Is Hepatic Encephalopathy?

Hepatic encephalopathy is a loss of brain function that occurs when a diseased or damaged liver no longer removes toxins from the blood. Without removal, the toxins in the bloodstream travel to various areas of the body, including the brain.

Once in the brain, toxic blood can cause a decline in brain function. Fortunately, brain function can often be restored with prompt treatment and is usually a temporary condition. Complete recovery is possible if the encephalopathy is triggered by an underlying cause that is reversible. For permanent underlying causes, continuous treatment may be required to keep the condition under control.

Hepatic Encephalopathy

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