Welcome to the forum!! My husband has hep c and cirrhosis of the liver. He was diagnosed 4 years ago, and is also an alcoholic....sober for 2 years and 3 months now, and he would not have made it had it not been for his AA group. Connie is absolutely right....the most important thing here is that he needs to quit drinking...he needs to go to AA, and it would probably help for you to go to alanon.....now for the liver stuff. He really does need to see a GI (gastrointerologist) or a hepatolgy (liver specialist) doctor. There is treatment for the hepatitis c, but he cannot drink with this medication. Also, you had mentioned that he breaks out in a rash....if the rash is on his skin and is very painful....could be a condition called vasculitis, which some patients with Hep C can get...it's a side effect (complication) of the Hep C. My husband has had issues with vasculitis and is currently undergoing a chemo infusion for it because the steroid medication he has been on is causing him too many problems. My husband was accepted into the transplant program this last spring. I know this is very difficult for you to watch happen, but you are going to need to arm yourself with information and also be his healthcare advocate, because he is not going to remember alot. This is also one of the issues with liver disease.....mental confusion, memory loss, etc.....make sure you have his doctor put him on lactulose...that will help his ammonia level go down , which will in turn help with the mental confusion issues. And, as Connie mentioned, you need to limit the sodium intake and red meat...the low sodium will help with the fluid rentention and the liver has a hard time breaking down red meat. I know this is all very overrwhelming with you.....but hang in there....we are all here behind you. Hang in there, and keep you chin up!!!
Mia, thanks for giving the exact type of hepatitis he has. I also have hep C. Your husband DEFINITELY needs to see a GI doc or hepatologist. A family physician is not knowledgeable enough to be able to manage this disease. A hepatologist would be able to tell whether your husband might be eligible for hep C treatment, or if his disease has progressed to the point where he will soon need a transplant.
He does not need to cut out salt entirely. That's about impossible to do, anyway. However, he should not add salt to food on his plate and you should not put it in cooking water. In addition, most canned and frozen dinners are high in sodium, so it's better to use fresh if at all possible. Read labels. You can try using Mrs. Dash or lemon juice in place of salt.
Mer's suggestions are "right on."
Post Edited (MamaMia1967) : 9/14/2008 11:14:20 PM (GMT-6)
Mia, I've never had my amonia tested as I've never had symptoms of encephalopathy to warrant it. When you next go to the doctor with your husband, be sure to mention the symptoms he has. Ask if they could be caused by high amonia. The doc may then have him tested for it.
Hang in there!
Mer, that's understandable! You're under enough stress and things like a broken fridge can be the final straw. Are you getting enough sleep or doing anything to relax? Remember that it's important to take care of yourself.
Mia, they usually give Lactulose for high amonia levels. From what I gather, it's not very pleasant but it works. Is he on a diuretic?
Mia, again I suggest a referral to a hepatologist (liver specialist.) Is your husband still staying away from alcohol? If so, I think it's time to pursue a liver transplant. It is a long evaluation and testing process just to get listed. Therefore, I think it's important that you get a specialist's opinion and see about getting him evaluated for transplant. Once on Lactulose, liver patients seem to stay on it until they get a transplant, though the dosage can be adjusted. You need to push for that referral (if your insurance requires one.)