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Avatar universal

Pancreaitis and liver disease

My cousin, a 35 year old women, was recently hospitalized. They are still doing tests but this is what they found so far.  She has pancreaitis and liver disease.  She has lost a lot of weight and I was just concerned that maybe she was taking her dieting to an extreme.  She is thin and looks 5 months pregnant.  I am very close with this cousin (we are like sisters).  I am not aware of any drinking or drug problems.  Does anyone have any suggestions.  It gets worse, she is unemployed and has no health insurance.  We are trying to find a hospital to treat her, we are very sick over this and feeling helpless!  Any suggestions as to what's going on with her physically and help we can find for her financial situation.  We are afraid a liver transplant might be what she needs, (a doctor did mention this to us).  
4 Responses
Avatar universal
I am sorry that your cousin has both of these problems.  While I can't help you with liver disease, I can offer some suggestions about what she should do to help her pancreatitis.  

You need to understand that her weight loss is probably not the result of an extreme diet, weight loss is one of the symptoms of chronic pancreatitis for many people.  I lost 20 pounds before I was diagnosed, without trying.  Not all pancreatitis is caused by alcohol or by taking medically presribed drugs that would cause it.  Other causes can be from gallbladder problems, biliary obstruction, genetics, sphincter problems, pancreatic divisim, ERCP's or idiopathic (where the cause is unknown).  It is most likely one of these other causes that has triggered the pancreatitis.

It will be important for your cousin to adhere to a strict low-fat diet, not to exceed 25 grams of fat daily, and eating smaller meals or snacks throughout the day with no more than 6-8 grams of fat per meal.  She should avoid all fried foods and alcohol in any form, as both are known to aggravate the pancreas.  The diet is necessary to keep the pancreas from having to try to digest fats, which it can't do once it has been inflamed and damaged by pancreatitis.  Proteins also cause pancreatic distress and should be taken only minimally.

It is a tragedy that she has neither employment or insurance.  You should contact your local health department and seek their advice on what she can do for medical assistance.  In my area they provide necessary medical assistance for those who cannot afford it, and some necessary medical care is available through local health cllinics.  There are also indigent drug programs available for those needing prescription drugs for certain medical conditions.  You, or she, would need to research this further in your area to find the right help for her.

I hope this has helped and that someone else can help you with her liver disease questions.  Post again if you have any other questions.

28293 tn?1213136950
The advice that Nanny gave you is good advice.

I just wanted to add---
One of the signs of advanced liver disease is "ascites" (fluid build-up in the abdomen).
You mentioned that she looks 5 months pregnant. That could be ascites.

If she does haves ascites....the first line of defense is a low sodium diet. (Staying under 2000 mg. sodium per day).

I've got a cirrhosis webpage at:


and another one at


Avatar universal
Thank you for the information.   A more advanced hospital did take my cousin.  They did a liver biopsy, so we are just waiting to hear.  Thank you again for the information
Avatar universal
if she has been to a hospital already go talk to the social worker there and exlpain your problem with insurance.  They can contact social services( there will be some one at the hospital that takes care of social sevice stuff like a social worker) and get your cousin a temporary disability assistance insurance #.  Make her doc. explain to the social worker how serious the situationis when you get the temp # most hospitals will take this and when you get the card then you show them the card.  My husbands doc told us hospitals wont let you in until you have the perinante one but when we got to  the hospital they said that they would have.  Don't take no for an answer on this even when your at your witts end keep going.  Many hospitals have a slidding scale sometimes it slides all the way to you pay nothing.  Keep tring and if you have any problems post it and maybee I can give more advice.  Good luck and stay positive
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