Health Advice

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Head Lice – Help!!!

Every parent’s heart sinks when they receive the dreaded note from school warning about head lice. Don’t worry – Jane Brennan from Brennan’s Life Pharmacy in Donabate is here to to give us advice and tips. The first thing to do is to check the child’s head. You will need some tea tree conditioner, a... Read more >

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Are You SunSmart?

We ask Jane Brennan from Brennan’s Life Pharmacy Donabate how to make the most of great sunny summer days whilst protecting our skin from harmful rays. Jane says “The Irish Cancer Society SunSmart program has great guidelines to keep us safe. See below for some useful tips and advice” Ways to protect your skin: Shade... Read more >

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Pollen Highs & Watery Eyes

Pollen Highs & Watery Eyes… Talk to Jane Brennan, your Hay Fever Expert in Donabate Are your eyes itchy, red or watery? Is your throat scratchy? Are you sneezing? Do you have itchy ears, nose or mouth? Do you have a blocked or runny nose? Do you wake up feeling exhausted? Hay fever can cause... Read more >

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NHS Choices - Diagnosing cirrhosis


If your GP suspects cirrhosis, they'll check your medical history and carry out a physical examination to look for signs of chronic liver disease.

If your GP suspects your liver is damaged, you'll be referred for tests to confirm the diagnosis.


You may have a number of different tests including those described below.

Blood tests

Blood tests can measure your liver function and the amount of liver damage. A blood test may be used to measure the levels of the liver enzymes alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transferase (AST) in your blood, as these will be raised if you have inflammation of the liver (hepatitis).


An ultrasound scan, transient elastography scan, computerised tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may be carried out on your liver. A transient elastography scan is similar to an ultrasound scan carried out during pregnancy (it's sometimes known as a Fibroscan).

These scans can produce detailed images of your liver or check liver stiffness to identify any scarring.

The Lab Tests Online UK website has more information about ALT and AST measurements.

Liver biopsy

A liver biopsy is where a fine needle is inserted into your body (usually between your ribs) to remove a small sample of liver cells. The sample is sent to a laboratory so it can be examined under a microscope.

The biopsy is usually carried out under local anaesthetic, as a day case or with an overnight stay in hospital. The outcome of the biopsy will confirm a diagnosis of cirrhosis and may provide more information about the cause. However, transient elastography is increasingly being used as an alternative to a biopsy in the diagnosis of cirrhosis.


An endoscopy is where an endoscope (a thin, long, flexible tube with a light and video camera at the end) is passed down your throat and into your stomach.

Images of your oesophagus (tube from your throat to your stomach) and stomach are transmitted to an external screen where any varices (swollen vessels), which are a sign of cirrhosis, can be seen.


There are several different grading systems for cirrhosis according to how serious it is. One system is the Child-Pugh score which, based on your examination and laboratory tests, grades cirrhosis from A (relatively mild) to C (severe).

An alternative system called model of end-stage liver disease (MELD) uses the results of a blood test to help identify people who need an urgent liver transplant.

Back to Cirrhosis