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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a brain condition that is caused by liver disease. Liver diseases such as cirrhosis prevent the liver from removing ammonia and other harmful substances from the blood. The harmful substances build up in the blood and prevent the brain from working correctly. Early treatment is needed to reverse the damaging effects of this condition and restore proper brain function.
Call 911 or have someone else call for any of the following:
- You have a seizure.
- You cannot be woken.
Seek care immediately if:
- You feel confused, dizzy, or lightheaded.
- Your heart is beating faster than is normal for you.
- You have sudden shortness of breath.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You are sleeping more than usual.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can worsen your condition. Alcohol can also cause new or worsening damage to your liver and brain.
- Eat low-protein and low-sodium foods. You may be asked to eat less protein and sodium (salt). Some foods high in protein include beef, pork, poultry (chicken, turkey), beans, and nuts. Some foods high in sodium include salty snacks, canned foods, condiments, deli meats, and cured meat such as bacon. Ask your dietitian for more information about foods to limit or avoid.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.