What Are the Symptoms of Hepatic Encephalopathy?


Quick Answer

Hepatic encephalopathy causes impaired judgment, poor concentration, forgetfulness, mood swings and changes in sleep patterns, MedlinePlus states. Fine motor skills such as handwriting suffer, and individuals with this condition sometimes develop a sweet or musty breath odor. Symptoms are rapid and severe or slow and progressive.

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In severe cases, hepatic encephalopathy causes disorientation, slurred speech, drowsiness or behavior that is out of character, according to MedlinePlus. Individuals suffer from uncontrolled shaking in the hands or arms, infrequent seizures, or sluggish movements. They also become more prone to personality shifts, such as excitement and agitation. The condition gradually weakens brain functions and sometimes causes individuals to enter a coma or unresponsive state.

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