The liver is a large organ in your body. It’s function is to help you digest your food, filter your blood as well as make a substance that thicken your blood and prevents clots from forming. Should you have liver disease or cirrhosis, the normal tissue of your liver is replaced by scar tissue. This leads to your liver not being able to properly function.
Causes and Development
One of the most common causes is alcoholism. There is also a virus that can make a liver swell. It is called Hepatitis C. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is another common liver ailment. This happens when fat builds up in a person’s liver. It can occur with people who have high blood cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure as well as obesity.
When a person has liver disease, it will develop slowly over time. The parts of their liver that have scar tissue won’t be able to function as well as with a healthy liver. Chronic liver failure is also known as end-stage liver disease. The occurrence of liver disease could take many months to several years. The reason is that symptoms may not appear when the liver disease begins to develop.
The first step a person can take to discover if they have liver disease is to visit their physician. The physician will probably order blood tests as well as a liver biopsy. This is a procedure where a small piece of liver tissue is taken from a person using a needle. The tissue is then carefully examined under a microscope. A physician may also have an MRI, CT scan as well as ultrasound performed. They could also have an endoscopy performed. During this procedure, a thin tube is put down a person’s throat and into their stomach. The goal is to detect any abnormal conditions like swollen veins.
Understanding The Benefits Of Palliative Care
A type of specialized medical care for people suffering from a serious illness is called palliative (pronounced “pal-lee-uh-tiv”) care. It is designed to focus on giving you relief from the pain, symptoms and stress of dealing with a serious illness such as liver disease. The goal of palliative care is to increase the quality of life for both you and your family.
Palliative care involves a team of medical professionals such as physicians, nurses, social workers as well as other specialists. This medical team will work together with your other physicians. They are able to provide an extra layer of support.
It is possible for you to receive palliative care no matter what your age and at any stage of your illness. It can also be done in conjunction with curative treatment.
Symptoms And Treatment For Liver Disease
There are certain signs a person is experiencing liver failure. These symptoms are being fatigued such as feeling tired or weak. A person could have jaundice, which is the yellowing of a person’s skin and the whites of their eyes. They could experience swelling of the abdomen, legs, lose their appetite as well as have unexplained weight loss, itchy skin, hiccups, and nausea.
When fluids build up in your body, they can be treated with certain medicines and other nondrug treatments. The correct medications will be known by your palliative care team. They will know which medication will help relieve the common symptoms. This could include everything from shortness of breath to hiccups, nausea, and itchy skin.
Over a period of time, the cirrhosis in the liver may get worse. Your liver may eventually no longer properly work. This is known as chronic liver failure. It is called end-stage-liver disease. This is when your symptoms will become more severe. When this happens, your palliative care team will provide important support for you and your family. They will know how to handle these challenges.
Should you be eligible for a liver transplant, a palliative care team will be there to assist you with symptom control as well as emotional support before, during and after you have the surgery. Your palliative care team will work with your physician and transplant team to provide support for you and your family during each step of the procedure.
The Palliative Care Team
Whenever a person is diagnosed with a serious illness, they can bring in a palliative care team. The earlier after a diagnosis, the better. The palliative care team will know how to treat your symptoms. They can explain you treatment choices. Your palliative care team can help you match your options with your goals. This team of specialists will know how to help you comprehend your medical condition and what you can expect. They will work in conjunction with your other physicians.
Palliative care specialists know how to assist you and your family when it comes to dealing with the challenges of having liver disease. They can help you cope with the painful side effects associated with treatment and the stress experienced by family caregivers.
Care and Support
Your palliative care team will know how to help you with all of these things and more. Your team will be your sounding board. They will be your first line of defense when you experience symptoms of anxiety, discomfort, pain or depression.
Your palliative team will help you and your loved ones when it comes to making large and small decisions. They will improve the communication between you, your family and other physicians. They can help you with clarifying your goals for care.
These are just a few of the many benefits associated with receiving palliative care.
Getting Palliative Care
Should you or a loved one need the help of palliative care, the first step is to ask your physician for a referral or, contact Harbor Light Hospice directly to learn more about our compassionate palliative care services.