Portal Hypertension – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Portal hypertension gets its name because it is an issue caused by intercurrent communication in the portal vein, which is responsible for sending blood from the organs located in the abdomen to the liver, through small vessels called sinusoids. The problem can cause several complications, among them: hemorrhoids, varicose veins in the esophagus, ascites and enlargement in the spleen, which causes a large abdominal swelling.

Many factors can lead to portal hypertension, but the main ones are cirrhosis and schistosomiasis. That is why it is more common for the diagnosis to happen in liver patients.

Symptoms of Portal Hypertension

The symptoms of portal hypertension are not always easily identified , however, people who already suffer from liver conditions or have already presented cirrhosis have a higher degree of the condition happening, and any changes in the body or symptoms that may indicate the existence of portal hypertension. Among the main symptoms are:

  • Abdominal swelling;
  • Vomiting with blood;
  • Stools dark and with a very strong odor;
  • Swollen feet and legs;
  • Hemorrhoids;
  • Esophageal varices

In the case of worsening of the condition, it is possible that the patient suffers from mental confusion and sudden fainting caused by the toxins that reached the brain due to the liver’s inability to filter the blood properly . This worsening can also occur in any other type of disease that affects the liver. Another characteristic symptom of portal hypertension and other diseases that affect the liver is that of jaundice, which causes a characteristic yellowing of the skin and eyes of patients with liver problems.

Diagnosis

In the vast majority of cases, the hepatologist who does the medical follow-up will identify portal hypertension through the symptoms reported by the patient, in addition to assessing the history of liver disease. During the consultation, you will be examined for obvious symptoms such as abdominal swelling, swelling in the legs and the occurrence of hemorrhoids or enlarged veins.

After clinical analysis, based on all history and reported symptoms, it may be necessary to perform some tests that will conclude and diagnose the condition. The tests required in these cases are laboratory tests such as: endoscopy, X-ray and blood tests.

Treatment of Portal Hypertension

Unfortunately, portal hypertension is a condition that cannot be cured, but thanks to the evolution of medicine and several studies in order to control the symptoms, it is possible to give a better quality of life to the diagnosed patient, in addition to controlling the appearance of other complications. The main treatments indicated in this case are:

  • High blood pressure medications – like blood pressure control medications help to reduce the pressure in blood vessels, they naturally reduce the chances of varicose veins in the esophagus and also in the appearance of hemorrhoids.
  • Laxatives – The use of medications with a laxative effect, such as lactulose, is recommended, focusing on eliminating excess toxins and ammonia from the body, which helps to prevent the worsening of the condition, causing mental confusion and fainting.
  • Endoscopic therapy – It is indicated to treat and prevent the rupture of varicose veins in the esophagus.
  • Surgical Procedure – It is one of the last options in the treatment, and it is usually indicated when the patient does not respond well to the treatment based on medications. In some cases, to reduce portal hypertension, the correction of some deviation of blood circulation in the liver may be indicated or even an indication / possibility of liver transplantation.

In addition to drug-based treatment and therapy, specific health care for a patient with portal hypertension is needed, which helps to control the disease and reduce the chances of worsening and liver complications. A healthy diet, rich in whole foods and low in fat is essential, in addition to definitely cutting alcohol consumption, even if socially.

In order to be effective in treatment, it is necessary to control other health conditions, such as diabetes and cholesterol, and to have regular appointments for medical follow-up. Some exams can be requested for follow-up and even adjust the medications indicated for the treatment. The treatment has no period for completion and in most cases, patients need to follow the treatment for life.

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Diet of a Patient with Portal Hypertension

Changing eating habits is essential and indispensable for the treatment of a patient with portal hypertension, as well as in the treatment of any other liver disease. Healthy eating aids in cell regeneration of the liver , allowing the organ to continue exercising its function of converting food into energy, in addition to eliminating toxins from the body. The diet for patients with portal hypertension should be healthy, with easily digestible foods and zero fat.

  • Grilled chicken, meat and fish;
  • Boiled or roasted skinless chicken;
  • Vegetables, preferably those with dark leaves;
  • Vegetables in general;
  • Fruits preferably shelled and cooked;
  • Jellies;
  • Leaf salads in general.

In addition to natural, light and healthy food, it is recommended to consume about 2 liters of water per day, to stay hydrated and help eliminate toxins. Fatty foods, fried foods in general, soft drinks, sausages, very spicy foods and ready-made spices such as cube or sachets, sweets, coffee, chocolate and canned foods should be cut from the diet of any patient with liver problems.

Alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited for liver patients, since alcohol consumption has a toxic effect that further damages liver cells. The practice of physical exercises is also recommended to enhance the treatment.

Natural Treatment For Liver Diseases

There are great alternatives and natural options to help treat liver problems, which help to detoxify, reduce inflammation and even regenerate liver cells. But we have to warn that none of these tips should be replaced by the treatment indicated by the doctor, but be used as a complementary treatment to obtain better results.

  • Bilberry tea;
  • Thistle infusion;
  • Artichoke

The natural tips above are great allies for liver health. They help in the elimination of toxins, have anti-inflammatory action, protect and regenerate liver cells, aid in digestion, have purifying action and also help to control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. You can easily find them at street markets and health food stores.

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My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.

Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

Dr. Alexis Hart

My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother. Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

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