Your child’s liver says it all

October 11, 2017 Liver Section 10501 Views


Liver Diseases that affect children

All parents get concerned when the common cough and cold affects their child. But most of them are ready to deal with bruised knees and even fractures in case of a fall. But very few parents are aware of underlying causes that could show up as familiar symptoms.

For instance, signs of calcium deficiency have moms scuttling to make palatable dishes with milk but there could be a serious issue underlying that loss of appetite, stamina, poor weight gain or fatigue.

More than hundred liver diseases can affect the children, but you shouldn’t don’t set alarm bells ringing becaue of that. Just stay alert and inform your pediatrician when you spot any of the following:

  • Passing of blood in stools and urine
  • Pruritus i.e itching
  • Vomitting
  • Nausea
  • Abdomenal pain
  • Change of sleep patterns
  • Vomitting blood
  • Yellow urine
  • Portal hypertension which simply means high blood pressure in the blood from the heart going  through the digestive system.

Most of these are similar to jaundice but you must bring any of these factors to the notice of your medical practitioner, as they may require further investigation. In fact, even healthy babies can have a mild form of jaundice during the first two weeks of their infancy, but should it get worse, it may indicate a liver problem.

Kids glued to their digital gadgets and a sedentary lifestyles can be the reasons for growing incidence of obesity among kids. One of the harmful fallouts – fatty liver disease. But blood tests, liver biopsies and ultrasounds can help detect this in time and prevent further harm. Like in all conditions and afflictions, later the diagnosis lesser the chances and slower the pace of recovery.

Pediatric Hepatologist and Gastroentrologist says , parents need to keep themselves well-versed with what could go wrong, in order to prevent liver ailments. Hepatitis B and C and other inherited diseases like glycogen storage, cystic fibrosis could lead to liver cirrhosis in children. But what exactly is cirrhosis – it’s usually associated with alcohol abuse among adults. However, parents need to be aware that a wide variety of liver disorders can cause cirrhosis. Certain medication such as Isoniazid, Nethotrexate could be a hazard. Even excess Vitamin A may aggravate it. As the roots of cirrhosis get deeper, the flow of bile gets blocked or stopped completely. This stage is characterized by easy bruising and bleeding and wounds taking longer to heal.

Watch out for the following Symptoms:

  • Reddened palms
  • Loss of body hair
  • Enlarged spleen and liver
  • Spidery blood vessels appearing especially around the navel
  • Water retention
  • Tremors
  • Forgetfulness

Family members though should remember that while cirrhosis cannot be completely cured, it can be treated fairly well. Treatment by Pediatric Hepatologist and Gastroentrologist, includes focusing on underlying causes and prescriptions could be to drain excess fluid, stop a blood vessel from breaking or fight infections.

Measures to be taken to control Liver Cirrhosis:

While liver disorders that cause cirrhosis cannot be prevented, some measures can be taken.

  • Ensure timely immunization and vaccination for influenza and regular blood tests to monitor medication which might further damage your child’s liver.
  • Boost your child’s immunity with a strictly regimented diet which incorporates extra calories or limiting protein if the liver is unable to process it. Salt intake also needs to be reduced as salt causes water retention. More vitamins, while raw seafood is taboo.

Mita, a mother of a sprightly 18 years old, recalls. “We had told Sasha that she should inform us immediately if she vomits blood or passes blood in her stool. We also informed her school about her condition – variceal haemorrhage, should an enlarged blood vessel burst in her stomach; that she would be rushed to the nearest hospital as an emergency case. Thankfully, there was no such incident.“

To this, Sasha adds. “Everyone in the family was horrified and assumed I would need a liver transplant. But I’ve lived a normal life like any other kid and am pursuing a career in engineering. Of course, mom was constantly tense, so I would see to it that I wouldn’t eat outside food. This way there was very good control over salt intake, which I believe is crucial. But other than that I’ve lived a healthy, normal life.”

Well, may there be many more inspiring tales just like Sasha’s, where liver isn’t an issue.

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