What should we know about our liver’s health?

The liver is the largest internal organ of the human body. The liver is an indispensable part of the human body because it is responsible for the digestion of food, storage of energy, and detoxification. Hence, it’s of utmost importance to take care of our liver by eating healthy food and following a workout regime.

Let’s get to know a little about our Liver health and liver transplant.

What is a liver?

The liver is an integral part of the human body situated under the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen.

The liver is responsible for performing the following functions of the body:

  • To fight infections
  • Detoxification of blood
  • Helps blood to clot
  • Maintaining hormonal balance
  • Regulation of blood sugar levels
  • Helps in digestion of the food
  • Breaking down of food and storage of nutrients

However, there are various companies offering liver supplements who claim their products would do the above-mentioned functions for your body. These supplements will also provide more energy, boost immunity and even help lose weight.

When do you think your liver can get affected? 

Your liver function may get affected if you over-consume alcohol, are obese, follow unhealthy eating habits and certain medications. All this can cause the liver to fail which results in liver cancer.

How alcohol affects liver health?

Overconsumption of alcohol can cause alcohol-related fatty liver disease which leads to failure of the liver. Excess intake of alcohol causes damage to the liver and stops the breaking up of fats in the liver. But when you control the intake of alcohol to 1-2 pints a day, the liver can repair itself otherwise it may result in liver swelling.

In the long run, this causes permanent scarring (cirrhosis) which causes damage to the liver. There is no cure for cirrhosis, the only treatment option left is a liver transplant which is a complex medical procedure.

How obesity affects the health of the liver?

Being obese can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which also leads to failure of the liver. However, the other risk factors leading to non-alcoholic liver disease are:

  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Lack of exercise
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

If liver failure is not treated at the right time, it may cause permanent liver failure. The only treatment option here would be a liver transplant.

How certain medications (drugs) can affect the health of the liver?

Some common medications such as Paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin may damage the function of the liver if all these medicines are taken at one go or high doses are consumed over a couple of days. You MUST refrain from taking these medicines with alcohol or during hangover until the alcohol is out of your system completely otherwise it may cause serious side effects which can be life-threatening.

Some other medications which may affect the health of the liver include the following:

  • Statins
  • Steroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Antiviral drugs
  • Antifungal drugs

Do not buy over-the-counter medicines unless suggested by your physician.

Many liver supplements in the market contain herbal ingredients such as dandelion root, milk thistle and artichoke leaf. But before taking these supplements, consult with the best liver doctor in India if it’s safe for you to consume.

How an unhealthy diet can affect the health of the liver?

Your diet has a great impact on the overall body and especially on the health of the liver. Below is the food list that you MUST avoid in order to protect your liver from failing:

  • Salt:- Salted Nuts, Frozen Foods, Smoked or Cured Meat
  • Added Sugar:– Canned Juices, Fizzy Beverages, and Sweets
  • Refined Carbohydrates:- Refined Flour White Bread or White Pasta
  • Saturated and Trans Fats: Confectionery items such as Pastry, Cakes or Cream, Fried Foods, Red Meat.

When should you know your liver is in danger? 

Following are the signs and symptoms which will help you understand if you have a liver disorder.

  • Diarrhea
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue or dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low sex drive also called libido
  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Easy bruising
  • The build-up of fluid in your abdomen

If you have any of the above symptoms, go visit your liver doctor right away to prevent further complications and get tested for liver function. You can get checked for your liver function by a blood test. 

Vital ways to improve the health of the liver:

You need to inculcate few lifestyle changes to help the liver function the way it should or if the liver is already affected, the below-listed tips will help the liver to repair itself.

To improve liver health, do the following:

  • Regular exercising to maintain ideal weight can help improve liver health. You must exercise 30 minutes each day for at least 4 days a week.
  • Include fresh fruits and veggies in your diet. Try to eat a healthy diet such as a Mediterranean diet and high-fiber foods.
  • Keep your body active throughout the day by doing a mix of aerobic and other physical activities.
  • Limit the intake of alcohol to 1-2 glasses a day.
  • Include 1 cup of coffee in your diet to improve the function of your liver.
  • Include low-sodium and low-sugar diet

Hopefully, this article will help you to understand the importance of a healthy liver in our system. You see a liver doctor if you feel any of the symptoms or signs are related to you.