What Is A Liver Transplant?
Liver in human body is known as a chemical factory. It produces more than five hundred chemicals substances such as proteins, enzymes and cholesterol to make our body work efficiently. Liver is a large organ and even if a large part of it is damaged, it does not show up in symptoms that could be directly related to liver. However any underlying illness that damages the liver leading to a situation know as cirrhosis of liver is an irreversible condition. Once the liver is damaged removing the old liver with a healthy liver is the only medical treatment. This surgery is called a liver transplant.
A liver transplant is a big step to take, but it can save your life. You will be able to take better care of your new transplant if you understand your illness and your treatment. You will need to reach certain goals in your recovery. It is very important that you understand what you must do to make your transplant work. You must take your medicines as told, keep your appointments, and stay in close touch with your doctors and coordinators.
When Is A Liver Transplant Necessary?
The tricky thing about the liver illness is that it will not show up as a fatal illness until very late. It you are advised a liver transplant, please watch out for one or more of the following list of symptoms.
Report to your doctor if you feel tired all the time. If you notice that the daily routine you have followed without much efforts has started bothering you and you are not able to cope well.
Bleeding or bruising easily
If your liver is damaged then sometimes it may not be able to produce chemicals that are required in clotting of the blood. If a simple scratch causes bleeding, report it to your doctor.
A damaged liver is not able to drain off the bile salts effectively and these accumulate in the skin causing itchiness. It is a serious symptom, do not ignore it.
Yellow discoloration in the skin and eyes (jaundice)
If your liver is damaged it may cause jaundice and yellowness in your skin and eyes. Be watchful to not miss these signs.
Loss of appetite, nausea, weight loss
If these symptoms persist for a months, you should not ignore these.
Swelling in your legs or bloating in your tummy
Cirrhosis causes what is clinically know as portal hypertension which basically means your blood is not flowing as it is used to and it is resulting in fluid accumulation in your tummy or in legs. Your normal shoes may be too tight for you or you are not able to wear closed shoes any more.
Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy)
Liver plays an important role in digesting protein-rich food. When your liver is not working properly, the nitrogen that is released when proteins are broken down in the body is not released through the normal channel. The nitrogen enters the blood stream causing the brain to be confused. If you are unable to sleep or your sleep is interrupted, or you are very sleepy, it is a sign of liver illness getting very serious. You should report to your doctor immediately.
Precautions for a Liver Patient
Avoid drinking alcoholic drinks completely.
Avoid tobacco, cigarettes or any other drugs.
Painkillers that you get over the counter from your local chemist shop are outright dangerous for your liver.
Avoid self-medication, if you have health problems, however trivial, do not try to treat yourself.Consult your doctor.
If you need to take any medicines for pain or for infections, only take these after consulting your hepatologist or the transplant surgeon.
Avoid eating foods or drinking water or other juices that may not be completely hygienic.