The liver is the 2nd largest organ in our body. The basic functions of liver include the following:
- Production and excretion of bile (bile helps in digestion or breakdown of fat).
- Excretion (removal of wastes, toxins from our body) of substances like bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs.
- Metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
When our liver is unable to do these primary functions many serious health issues start to arise. We will discuss some important conditions.
"Hepato" means liver and "itis" means inflammation. Hepatitis hence means the inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis is of 5 types depending on the virus that infects it. Hepatitis A and E are a result of contaminated food/water ingestion; while Hepatitis B, C, and D are caused by transmission/exposure to infective body fluids, blood, and semen.
Alcoholic Liver Disease:
This commonest liver disease is a result of the over-consumption of alcohol. If you overload your liver by drinking too much alcohol, the excess alcohol would end up circulating in your blood. This, in turn, this affects our organs like brain and heart leading to increased intoxication. This constant alcohol abuse results in the following:
- Destruction of liver cells
- Fatty liver
- Liver inflammation
- Irreversible liver cirrhosis
- Liver cancer
Almost 1/3rd of the patients of liver cirrhosis remain asymptomatic. Deaths from liver cirrhosis have been estimated to increase alarmingly making it the 12th leading cause of death by 2020.
So what exactly happens in liver cirrhosis?
Liver cirrhosis is the commonest chronic liver disease which develops when the damaged tissue replaces the healthy liver tissue following a process of extensive damage to liver over a prolonged time.
This is the 6th most common cancer and 2nd most fatal cancer. Cancer that originates from the liver is called liver cancer, while the other cancer that originates in other organs but spreads to the liver is called metastatic liver cancer. This metastatic liver cancer is more fatal.
Common Symptoms of Liver Diseases:
We can get to know if our liver is damaged by a few common symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
Management and Prevention of Liver Diseases
Management and prevention of liver diseases involves a few lifestyle adjustments, medicines, and regular checkup visits. In some cases, a surgical treatment is also required to deal with the complications of liver cirrhosis. Some Ways of Liver Disease Prevention are:
Limit or quit alcohol for controlling/preventing the liver damage.
Avoid the Risk Factors:
Say no to drugs and smoking, practice safe sex, use condoms. If you want to get inked by some fancy tattoos or do body piercings, be sure that it is done with complete hygiene and safety.
Avoid Over the Counter Medicines:
Only take medication that is prescribed by a physician. There could be a possibility that the over the counter medicines or an inappropriate dose can harm the liver. Only a physician can prescribe appropriate medication and its dosage.
Avoid Contact with the Infected Blood or any Other Body Fluid:
As this can result in spreading the hepatitis virus. Avoid sharing razors, razor blades, toothbrushes, etc.
Maintain Your Weight Appropriately:
Being overweight or obese can lead to some serious liver conditions like fatty liver, liver cirrhosis, and hepatitis.
You should talk to your family physician about getting vaccinated for hepatitis A and B; as their vaccines are readily available in the market.
Regular Health Checkup:
We all should follow and practice "prevention is better than cure". This is the best "mantra" to keep away from illnesses, stay healthy, happy and carefree.A regular health checkup hence is the easiest and apparently best way to eliminate any disease. Indus Health Plus offers the most thorough and comprehensive health checkup. For any health related concerns, tips on how to stay healthy or for your feedback, please fill the query form and we will get back to you immediately.