British Liver Trust

HE....The Signs

For anybody who suffers with liver disease one of the worst symptons is when the ammonia in your blood gets so high that it starves the brain of oxygen....hepatic encephalopathy is the medical term and if like me you should ever suffer from it, it is a dreadful condition and you should waste no time in getting to hospital whatever time of night or day. Ignore the signs at your peril. Again I am straying away from my sports writing roots to try pass on advice based on personal experience.

Yes there are definite signs which looking back I could and should have dealt with far earlier than I did. So with the benefit of my experience I have put into writing what to watch out for and what to do.

The very first thing to do is try and keep to the same doctor at your local GP surgery. I realise this isn't always easy but over 6 years I have built a strong bond with my chosen doctor and he knows me so well that he can tell instantly something is wrong. Without him I would not be here today frankly.

Secondly read up about the condition and take in what the signs are...write them down if you have to. Now not everybody will suffer from it but better to be prepared in case.

I have learned the hard way to make sure somebody you can trust has a spare set of keys to your home especially if like me you live alone. I was hit by the condition getting up for work one day and after I hadn't turned up for work somebody raised the alarm. Good job too as I had fallen and knocked myself out. It ended with the police having to break into my flat and me been unconscious for around 11 hours...I was lucky. So now my son has a set of keys and a close friend and neighbour makes sure I'm ok every so often if he hasn't seen me around.

So what are the signs? Well, they are quite simple to detect.. ;

1-a changed or disturbed sleep pattern.

2-forgetfulness....are you suddenly forget things?

3-Lethargy gradually getting worse.

4-Sleeping long hours and waking up even more tired.

5-Losing interest in things easily.

Now, I am no doctor but these looking back, are the signs that I had. I didn't do anything about it and just assumed it was the liver condition. Eventually I fell into a virtual state of coma one night and woke up not even knowing my name or where I was. It happened to me four times in a ten week period including when driving.

So to sum up, just make sure you know the signs and take precautions in case. Plus do make sure you try and build a strong bond with your GP. If you sit back and do nothing you may not be as lucky as I am.

As I stated I am not a medical expert and I am speaking from personal experience.

Carl Taylor.

4 Replies

sorry for your condition and well done for telling others the signs!


No worries. As long as keep taking the lactulose should mostly be fine


What an inspired insight,

I have suffered very similar symptoms and still do, but you just have to fight on and enjoy the good days

Your writing have given me a lift as I thought I was the only one suffering these effects, it amazing how scary a phone can be!

All the best for the future


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Thank you

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