Hepatic Encephalopathy is a rare disorder that occurs in patients with cirrhosis. It is defined as a spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders in patients with liver dysfunction, after exclusion of a brain disease which is characterized by personality changes, depressed level of consciousness, intellectual impairment, etc.
There are Different Stages of Hepatic Encephalopathy. These are
- Stage 0: In this stage, there are minimal symptoms.
- Stage 1: Stage 1 has mild symptoms which include changes in sleeping habits. The patient may suffer from insomnia or hypersomnia.
- Stage 2: In this stage, the symptoms are moderate. The patient may feel lethargic or disoriented.
- Stage 3: This stage has severe symptoms. The patient is unable to perform even basic tasks. There will be personality changes and the patient remain
- Stage 4: This stage is characterized by coma.
What are the Causes of Hepatic Encephalopathy?
One of the functions of the liver is to remove the excess toxins such as ammonia from the body. These toxins are left over when proteins are metabolized or broken down for the usage by the various organs in the body. Kidneys convert these substances into a non-toxic form which are excreted through urine. When the liver is damaged, it is unable to filter out all the toxins. As a result, toxins can get build up in the bloodstream and get into the brain. This build-up of toxins can damage the brain and nerves.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hepatic Encephalopathy?
Subtle signs of hepatic encephalopathy are observed in 70% of the patients who have cirrhosis. The symptoms may be debilitating in the majority of the patients.
Early Symptoms include
- Breath with a musty odor
- Slurred speech
Advanced Symptoms Include
- Shaking of arms or hands
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Shaky hands
- Slow movements
Diagnosis and Treatment
- Blood tests: Blood tests such as Complete Blood Count which checks red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Other blood tests are also done which check the levels of sodium, potassium, and ammonia. Having too much of these substances in the blood indicate impaired liver function.
- Liver Function Tests: Liver function tests are also done which are used to check-raised enzyme levels. An increase in the enzyme level indicates stress on the liver or liver damage.
How Ayurveda can Help in the Treatment of Hepatic Encephalopathy?
Ayurveda has a unique understanding of human physiology and pathology that offers a different perspective on the diagnosis and the treatment. The use of Ayurvedic therapeutic treatments can deliver positive results in various acute and chronic disorders that are considered as difficult to treat by modern treatment.
Ayurveda understands the pathology as the derangement or disturbance in the body’s constituent’s viz. doshas, dhatu and mala. The goal of Ayurvedic treatment is to bring them back in equilibrium.
What are the Causes of Hepatic Encephalopathy According to Ayurveda?
According to Ayurveda, the liver is affected due to the over-accumulation of Pitta dosha which causes it to dysfunction and the condition gets exacerbated by the absence of bowel movement. This condition further gets worsened when earth and water elements accumulate and causes a disturbance with Vata dosha leading to the loss of senses or coma.
How Planet Ayurveda can Help in the Treatment of Hepatic Encephalopathy?
Planet Ayurveda offers various herbal remedies that help to reduce Pitta dosha and also the over-accumulation of water and earth elements.
There are various Ayurvedic preparations that are widely used for liver-related disorders. These herbs specifically work on the liver and Raktvaha Srotas.
These Herbal Remedies include
- Echinacea Capsules
- Yakritplihantak Churna
- Phyllanthus Niruri Capsules
- Liver Detox Formula Capsules
- Curcumin Capsules
- Arogyavardhini Vati
- Echinacea Capsules: Planet Ayurveda’s Echinacea Capsules contain the standardized extract of the herb Andrographispaniculata. This plant is commonly known as Kalmegh and it is widely used for the treatment of diseases of the liver, purification of blood, lack of appetite, skin diseases, etc. It stimulates the liver cells, expels vitiated Pitta, etc. It is a bitter yet nourishing herb. These capsules are very effective in the treatment of all liver disorders including hepatic encephalopathy.
Dose: 2 capsules twice a day with plain water after taking meals.
- Yakritplihantak Churna: Planet Ayurveda’s Yakritplihantak Churna contains the dried extracts of various herbs that are helpful in improving the functioning of the These herbs help to regenerate the liver cells and correct the metabolism of the liver. Ingredients of Yakritplihantak Churna are Bhumi Amla (Phyllanthusniruri), Kalmegh (Andrographispaniculata), Bhringraj (Ecliptaalba), Sharpunkha (Tephrosiapurpurea), Kaasni (Cichoriumintybus), Katuki (Picrrorhizakurrao), Makoy (Solanumindicum) and Punarnava (Boerhaviadiffusa).
Dose: Take half to one teaspoonful of this powder with plain water twice a day after taking meals.
- Phyllanthusniruri Capsules: Planet Ayurveda’s Phyllanthusniruri capsules contain the standardized extract of the herb ‘Bhumyamalaki’. This plant is commonly known as ‘stone breaker’. This plant is famous for its hepato-toxic properties therefore useful in all types of liver problems including hepatic encephalopathy.
(Reference: Bhav Prakash Nighantu, GuduchyadiVarga, Shlok No. 278)
Meaning: According to this shloka, Bhumi amla is bitter, astringent and sweet in taste. It has cool potency, increases Vata dosha, useful in cough, cold, thirst, and digestive disorders. This herb is also useful in blood and Kapha disorders, itching and healing of injuries.
- Liver Detox Formula Capsules: Liver Detox Formula Capsules by Planet Ayurveda contains the standardized extracts of the herbs that are useful in regenerating the liver cells and improve its functioning. Ingredients of liver detox formula capsules are Kutki (Picrorrhizakurrao), Punarnava (Boerhaviadiffusa), Kalmegh (Andrographiapaniculata), Makoy (Solanumindicum), Kaasni (Chicoriumintybus), Biranjasipha (Achilleamillefolium), Jhavuka (Tamarix gallica), Himsra (Capparis Spinosa) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula).
Dose: 2 capsules twice daily with plain water after taking meals.
- Curcumin Capsules: Curcumin Capsules by Planet Ayurveda contain the standardized extract of 95% of curcuminoids present in it. Turmeric is one of the most commonly used spices in India. It has numerous health benefits. It rectifies the liver functions, useful in toxic conditions, acts as a natural detoxifier, detoxifies the blood and expels increased Pitta out of the body by means of purgation.
Dose: 2 capsules twice daily with plain water after taking meals.
- Arogyavardhini Vati: Arogyavardhini Vati is good for liver conditions as it has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and some of its ingredients have anti-bacterial properties. It clears waste products from the body and acts as a catalyst when given in combination with other medicines. It is useful in liver disorders and balances Pitta Dosha.
Dose: 2 tablets twice daily with plain water after taking meals.
How to Prevent Hepatic Encephalopathy?
The best way to prevent hepatic encephalopathy is to take proper treatment for liver disorders.
Liver disorders can be prevented by following these steps:
- Avoid taking alcohol
- Avoid the consumption of high-fat foods
- Don’t share contaminated needles
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid close contact with people who are diagnosed with viral hepatitis.
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B