To give you an idea of your liver’s critical roles, here is a partial list of its functions:
Unfortunately, Liver damage does not show any explicit symptoms unless liver has been damaged to a great degree. There may be malaise, body ache, weight loss, anorexia, upper abdominal pain and other non-specific symptoms.
Normal liver is soft and smooth. As the liver damage increases, it tends to becomes hard with irregular surface, progressing from fibrosis to cirrhosis of liver. Functionally what it means is that the liver has failed to cope of with the functions it is supposed to carry out. Liver cirrhosis can also progress to cancers of liver. If the disease is not controlled, the complications of cirrhosis begin to develop. Once someone starts developing the complications, liver is already damaged and the injury has reached the point of no return.
The usual complication that can occur are :
If you experience any of the above symptoms, you must visit a doctor at the earliest. Since many times liver diseases go unnoticed for the lack of obvious symptoms, you should get yourself checked periodically, especially if you think you have been exposed to certain risk factors that can harm the liver (hyperlinked to ‘what causes harm to liver’). Those who have type II diabetes or are obese are at an increased risk for developing liver diseases (even if they do not consume alcohol).
We have designed a comprehensive Liver Wellness Package for that purpose which you may avail on any working day.
Diagnosis of liver disease along with its cause is made based on a details history taking, physical examination and by running a couple of tests (blood tests, invasive diagnostics and imaging studies)
Liver Function Tests :These are blood tests used to determine the health of your liver and your bile ducts. Along with history and physical examination, these tests guide your doctor in the diagnosis and management of your liver disease. These tests measure the levels of certain enzymes and proteins in your blood which indicate how well the liver is performing its functions. Abnormal liver test results don’t always indicate liver disease.
Endoscopy :The use of fibre-optic endoscopy has greatly facilitated the management of all patients with chronic liver disease. Upper GI (Stomach and intestine) endoscopy plays a pivotal role in the diagnosis and management of upper GI bleeding complications that can happen in patients with chronic liver diseases. Endoscopic ultrasound/ sonography (EUS) is increasingly being used to detect bleeding and in the staging of tumours. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) plays an important role in the diagnosis of recurrent bile duct issues.
Liver Biopsy :It is a diagnostic procedure where one obtains a small amount of liver tissue which is then examined under a microscope to determine what is causing the liver disease and the degree of damage (scarring) of the liver. This test is rarely performed and has very specific indications.
There are many ways a liver can get damaged. Following are some of the commonest causes of avoidable liver injury :
We can insert a graphic showing - Alcohol, Fatty food, Viral hepatitis (contaminated food and water, unsafe sexual practices, needle sharing in drug abuse), and drug induced (painkillers, some alternative medicines like Chinese/ herbal products/ detox supplements, exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins etc.)
Besides,certain immune system abnormalities can affect your liver.Some examples of such diseases are :
In some patients, liver damage is attributed to an abnormal gene inherited from one or both of your parents. These include:
|Beverage||Approximate alcohol content (w/v)||Serving size||Daily intake that exceeds threshold for Alcoholic Liver Disease|
|Beer||5%||350 ml||3 cans||1.5 cans|
|Wine||12%||145 ml||3 glasses||1.5 glasses|
|Hard liquor||40%||45 ml||3 drinks||1.5 drinks|
Lifestyle Modification - Healthy lifestyle can go a long in protecting not just your liver but other organ systems as well. Consumption of highly saturated fatty foods and no exercise can cause a variety of health problems, one of which nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. People who are obese and have type II diabetes as are especially high risk of developing it.
Safe practices - If you are using illicit intravenous drugs, don't share needles used to inject drugs. Use a condom for sex. If you want to get tattoos or body piercings, make sure the shop maintains utmost cleanliness and follows safe practices.
Vaccination - Irrespective of your occupation, lifestyle, everyone must get vaccinated for Hepatitis B. Talk to your doctor at the earliest about getting vaccine and make sure you complete the course.
Appropriate medications use - Take prescription and nonprescription drugs only when needed and only in recommended doses and duration. Do not mix medications and alcohol. Talk to your doctor before taking any pain killers, herbal supplements or detox products.
Protect your skin - When using insecticides and other toxic chemicals, wear gloves and a mask.