D, welcome to the Healing Well forum. You are not alone. Many folks participate in our forum who are liver disease patients themselves or the loved ones of someone affected by liver disease.
There are several helpful websites in the Resource material at the top of this forum that our new members find helpful.
My partner has liver disease...alcoholic hep, Hep C, and he had hepatocellular carcinoma before his liver transplant. Though he was transplanted 2.5 years ago, he still has Hep C and needs a treatment to be virus free.
Folks with Hep C generally have few symptoms for many years. Some don't know they have it at all for a long time, though they are testing for it more these days. A person who is alcohol free generally fares better along the way. Alcohol seems to have the pr
opensity to accelerate the damage.
Liver disease in its many forms is progressive...with actual cirrhosis a late stage. Generally the docs will perform a liver biopsy to check the staging of the disease.
Before that, they generally do a lot of blood tests to see how you are doing -- white and red blood, cholesterol, electrolytes, kidney and liver functions. Folks with advancing liver disease start to have bad numbers in all those categories because the liver is such an important organ in sustaining life.
It is good you were tested and can be monitored. There are meds along the way that help with the symptoms and side effects...which are many. Some have edema (swelling) in ankle/legs or belly, some have mental changes (hepatic encephalopathy for which there are meds), others have interrupted sleep, poor kidney function, low blood platelets (and need transfusions), and high blood pressure in the large vessels coming out of the liver (for which beta blockers are given).
The medical emergency for you will be any bleeding that won't stop quickly...from mouth, nose, or rectum. A bleed can kill a liver patient. This is caused by the build up of pressure in the liver and it can make the veins in your esophagus or stomach, etc burst. These can be banded and life saved....but if this happens dial 911 immediately.
Notes for now: continue to see your docs (but begin to think about
getting under the care of a reputable hepatologist (not just a GI doc) at a major medical center.) Eat a healthy low fat/low sodium diet, quit smoking and/or drinking, drink plenty of water and get as much rest as your body needs.
Good luck, come often and give us more information about
your particular situation....we'll help you as friends...we are not docs or nurses.
Post Edited By Moderator (hep93) : 11/14/2013 12:16:52 PM (GMT-7)