This page is dedicated to ~MIKE DUMONT ~ Mike and his wife Sandy and Son Joey opened their home to allow this never before documentented condition filmed. The candid and personal story shared exactly what this condition is and what it does to the body of someone with severe liver disease.
We are sad to say that Mike lost his battle to this condition and Hep C February of 2014. Sandy is actively involved in continuing her and Mikes mission to bring awareness to H.E. and hepatitis C. We hope by sharing their story that others facing the same problems in their families seek proper medical attention. Also bringing others to an understanding of a closet illiness effecting millions. May we continue to bring awareness and shed light on this condition shared by a true fighter.
Looking into the STAGES of HEPATIC ENCEPHALOPATHY
As the liver worsens and becomes cirrhotic symptoms and complications will start appearing giving signs that the liver is not doing well. H.E. (Hepatic Encephalopathy) might be a key sign the liver has damage or cirrhosis. (Here is a few other signs that show signs of a damaged liver – fluid buildup and painful swelling in the legs*edema or abdomen*ascites, enlarged spleen, esophageal veins in the esophagus, bruising easily, bleeds easy.)
Hepatic Encephalopathy causes a substantial economic burden. It is the 2nd leading cause for hospitalization of cirrhotic patients in the U.S. – Ascites (swelling of the abdomen) is the 1st. H.E. is also one of the most preventable, cause for re-admissions to hospitals.
What are the Stages of Hepatic Encephalopathy?
• STAGE 1 - Trouble sleeping, concentrating. The patients may have severe mood swings. Their hands may shake and tend to have trouble writing
• STAGE 2 – Lack of energy. Forgetting things and have difficulty with basic math. Strange behavior or out of the normal behavior, slurred speech.
• STAGE 3 – very sleeping with passing out at times. No basic math can be done at all. Very fearful and jumpy acting very strange
• STAGE 4 – Final stage is COMA. The patient is unconscious.
As you can see the progression between stages may be minimal and can sneak up on a person. This is why we urge you to seek out medical attention immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. There is medication to assist with this disease. It is the most manageable if we treat early and maintain a full regime of prescribed treatment.
There is HELP for those suffering and dealing with Hepatic Encephalopathy
If you or someone you love is suffering from Hepatic Encephalopathy, we encourage you to seek immediate medical attention. With proper diagnosis and treatment this condition can be monitored and controlled. Along with proper medical treatment we also encourage you to seek out a support group for both the patient and the caregiver.
The emotional toll this has on a patient and the caregiver is enormous. The emotional pain felt in dealing with this from both ends needs to also be addressed. It is not a fun easy part of liver disease of any kind. Those of you following us this week know and understand exactly what I am trying to convey here. There are emotions, actions and (I am not going to sugar coat anything here) words said by someone suffering from H.E. that in the moment of an episode their caregiver, friend or family member looks at them and says “who is this person?” The patient will act belligerent, mean, hateful, rude, and sarcastic and can be violent. The person you are looking at now is not the same person you once knew. This condition is serious and so so difficult. The patient may or may not really truly see the changes happening but the family does. This is why seeking out support from others going through this or have gone through it can help you understand what is happening. The support can give ways to deal with a situation or allow you a place to vent your frustrations, anger and sadness. We are talking for both the patient and caregiver. Each side has stress in dealing with this and neither are able to understand each other as they are on two different ends of the spectrum. Seek out the support you personally need.
As you the caregiver will start understanding the actions and the warning signs so you can deal with such episodes. But dealing with this alone after a while, a person can be torn down, broken and feeling alone and empty. We need you to know there is HELP and there is someone out here to understand your feelings and your frustrations.
We are recommending several very good outreach programs for you seek out help from. It is ok to reach out for help for this, resources are there for you to absorb information and gain knowledge over Hepatic encephalopathy. Please take advantage of these very good resources and always remember reaching out is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength to get control over a very devastating and potential life threatening condition. The more we understand and learn the better we can cope and handle the situation at hand. It also gives the patient a feeling of understanding to know and have someone who can relate to their feelings and sadness as well.
THE AMERICAN LIVER FOUNDATION offers many resources for Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE) as well as Hepatitis C.
Learn more about HE diagnosis and treatments along with local and national resources.
The 2014 Webinar Series encompasses four webinars including HE from the perspective of the patient, physician, and caregiver along with an Ask the Experts webinar.
**Also if you go to their (AMLF) website you can find information for caring for a loved one with hepatic Encephalopathy support guide
Xifaxan prescription drug also has the following links for support:
www.xifaxan550.com - xifaxan the treatment for H.E. also has a support line for both
Helpful tips for hepatic encephalopathy caregivers
• Learn as much as you can about your loved one's condition so you can communicate effectively with his or her doctor(s)
• When people offer to help, accept the offer and suggest specific things that they can do
• Seek support from other caregivers. There is great strength in knowing that you are not alone
• Watch out for signs of depression, and don't delay in getting professional help when you need it
• Caregiving is a job and taking time off is your right—reward yourself with breaks often
• Trust your instincts—most of the time they'll lead you in the right direction
• Know your limits—be realistic about how much of your time and yourself you can give to avoid getting burned out
• Confide in others and seek support—talk to friends, family members, and other caregivers about what you feel, and don't keep your emotions bottled up
Support for Hepatitis C and other Liver Diseases
** The Bonnie Morgan Foundation for HCV has a support groups through facebook that we suggest you looking into. These groups are private and noone can see the posts except those in these support groups. Look for us : Hepatitis C from A to Z on facebook
We encourage you to watch this powerful inside the life of Hepatic Encephalopathy www.hesback.com