World Liver Day is observed on 19 April to raise awareness about liver-related diseases. Everything we drink or eat, including medicine, passes through the liver. It is impossible to survive without a liver. It is also said that the liver is an organ that can easily be damaged if you don't take good care of it. Liver is the second largest organ in the body. After the brain, it is also the second most complex organ in the body.
The basic functions of liver include the following:
- Releasing bile (A liquid that breaks down fats and aids in digestion)
- Fighting infections and illness
- Regulating blood sugar
- Removing toxic substances from the body
- Controlling cholesterol levels
- Helping blood to clot (thicken)
- Metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
- 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.
Tips for Liver Cleansing:
- It is healthy to use olive oil.
- It is important to eat garlic, grapefruit, carrot, green leafy vegetables, apples, and walnuts.
- Take lemon, lime juice, and green tea.
- Prefer alternative grains like millet.
- Add cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
- It will be good to use turmeric in food.
A healthy lifestyle can help you thrive throughout your life. Making healthy choices isn't always easy, however. It can be hard to find the time and energy to exercise regularly or prepare healthy meals. However, your efforts will pay off in many ways, and for the rest of your life.
It refers to any condition that damages the liver and prevents it from functioning properly. Some common types of liver diseases are:
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
"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.
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:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Limit or quit alcohol for controlling/preventing the liver damage.
- 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.
- 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.
- As this can result in spreading the hepatitis virus. Avoid sharing razors, razor blades, toothbrushes, etc.
- 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.
- 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.