Do you know that our liver performs more than 500 functions in our body? Not only it helps in digestion but also metabolizes several inadvertent toxins.
Liver infections like Hepatitis A, B, C, and E, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption are responsible for causing damage to the liver. Treat your liver right so that it stays healthy and performs its function effectively.
How to ensure a healthier Liver?
- Alcohol: No amount of alcohol is ideally safe. But 1 unit (1 unit = 8 g or 10 ml of pure alcohol) of alcohol for males and one unit for females per day is the upper limit. No form is better than other; it is the absolute alcohol value that matters. Binge drinking pattern is also injurious and not recommended.
- Drugs: Many drugs may potentially damage liver even at normal doses especially if there is asymptomatic preexisting liver damage. Over the counter drugs, self-medication and ayurvedic medication without proper care are also prominent causes of liver damage.
- Diet and exercise: Obesity causes excess fat to be deposited in liver, thereby leading to liver damage. Dr. Vibhu Vibhas Mittal advises to avoid sugar, trans fat, and refined carbohydrates rather encourages to do exercise. These two interventions if combined together can improve cardiac health as well as liver health.
Infections like Hepatitis A & E are caused due to water borne diseases. Hepatitis B & C is the result of transmission through sexual or blood borne route. It silently damages the liver, causing irreversible recovery. You need to practice healthy and hygienic food habits and indulge in safe sex practices to limit hepatitis B and C. Nowadays there is an effective vaccine for hepatitis A and B.
What are symptoms of liver damage?
Most of the time liver damage is asymptomatic. Fatigue is the commonest symptom. Anorexia, nausea, unexplained weight loss, jaundice, abdominal distension may be the other manifestations
How to assess for liver damage?
Frequent clinical evaluation by an expert gastroenterologist and a liver specialist can significantly reduce the risk of liver damage. With normal liver function test and an ultrasound there may be significant liver damage. Experts use “Fibroscan” to measure the hardness of live. The non-invasive test uses physics of sound waves and is reliable method to rule out the irreversible liver damage.
Those at risk for hepatitis B and C should be screened and immunizations against the viruses should be undertaken to ward off preventable hepatitis. Timely help is of utmost importance for liver to prevent irreversible damage.