Liver Disease

The liver is a vital organ – no one can survive without it, but it is a silent organ because it can be damaged without sending any signals or symptoms. Hence, many people live with liver disease for a long time without ever knowing it.  The term "liver disease" applies to many diseases and disorders that cause the liver to function improperly or stop functioning. Abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice), or abnormal results of liver function tests suggest you have liver disease.

 

Your Liver  is a Really Important Organ
In fact, it's the second largest one in your body and is located right under your rib cage on your right side. It weighs about three pounds and is shaped like a football that's flat on one side.

It performs many jobs. Your liver processes what you eat and drink into energy and nutrients your body uses and filters out harmful substances from your blood.  The liver performs tasks for your body that you wouldn't be able to survive without. Most importantly, the liver acts as a filter, eliminating unwanted toxins and other chemicals from the body.  This can include everything from alcohol and illicit drugs to cholesterol and other unwanted natural nutrients.  The more your liver has to work to keep your system clean, the less healthy the organ becomes, and liver problems can quickly become a serious issue for most individuals.  Fortunately, there are several ways you can promote liver health and prevent these ailments.

Limit your alcohol consumption.  While some moderate alcohol consumption can be good for your health, excessive drinking can damage and destroy your liver's cells.  This can lead to several liver problems, such as fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis. Alcohol is especially damaging to individuals with liver disease.

Monitor your consumption of prescription medications, and talk to your doctor about ways your prescriptions might be changed to lessen the workload placed on your liver. Prescription medications put the liver to work as it flushes them out of your system, and if these medications or taken incorrectly, either at the wrong times, in the wrong quantities or with other medications, the liver can suffer.  Be sure to follow the instructions provided by the medication itself as well as your doctor.

Avoid chemicals, pollutants, and toxins that can enter your system and harm your body. Any toxins entering the body can damage the liver and even kill liver cells.  Smoking cigarettes is a prime example of toxin consumption that can damage the liver. Aerosol products and outdoor and indoor pollution can also harm your liver.

Exercise regularly. Working out at least three or four times each week can lead to improved health across the board, and the liver is no exception, according to the American Liver Foundation.  If you are obese, lowering your weight can also improve your liver's health.

Eat a well-rounded diet featuring foods that can promote liver health.  Foods high in fiber, such as whole grain products, as well as fruits and vegetables, can all promote liver health.  Avoid fatty or fried foods, as well as foods that have been smoked or cured.

Practice proper hygiene. Since germs are commonly spread by hands, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after you use the bathroom.  Also, wash your hands before you touch any food.

If you get a tattoo or a body piercing, make sure the conditions are sanitary and all equipment is aseptic (free of disease-causing microorganisms).

Get a hepatitis vaccine or an immunoglobulin shot to prevent hepatitis A or B.



 

Because your liver fulfils so many vital functions, you would die within 24 hours if it stopped working.  A common sign of a damaged liver is jaundice, a yellowness of your eyes and skin. This happens when bilirubin, a yellow breakdown product of your red blood cells, builds up in your blood.