Did you know that not only is the liver the second largest organ in our body, it is in fact very tolerant too? If no disease were to occur to affect the functioning of the liver, it would in fact work optimally right into old age. Considering the health of your liver now will do you great benefits in the long run, especially as many liver diseases can go unnoticed for a prolonged period of time, until it is quite far into the disease. To help you better understand how to loko after your liver, we will first look at what the liver does.
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Liver Health – What is its function?
The liver is responsible for a huge number of different functions. It is amazingly the only organ that can repair and re-grow itself when damaged. Firstly, the liver is responsible for processing, eliminating and detoxifying the toxins and foreign matter that enters and builds up in our blood stream. It plays a crucial role in the digestive process and is important in producing bile. Bile is the cornerstone to breaking down fats – helping to prevent obesity for example. The liver helps to filter the blood of old red blood cells, any bacteria and other infectious organisms that should not be in our system. The liver also helps to regulate our blood sugar levels and is able to store any surplus sugar in a way where is able to be released quickly when needed. The liver also produces an excessive number of important proteins, hormones and stores vitamins A, D, E and K.
Liver Health – What can go wrong?
As mentioned earlier, liver health does not deteriorate due to old age but rather through illness and disease. Liver health can be compromised from external factors such as pollutants, lifestyle choices – fatty foods, alcohol, smoking and lack of exercise or side effects from certain medications.
Conditions that can result due to liver damage include:
- Viral hepatitis A, B, C and D
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Alcohol liver disease
- Gallstone and gallbladder disease
Symptoms that can result due to liver damage include:
- Jaundice (Abnormal yellow discoloration seen on the skin and in the eyes)
- Dark urine
- Light-coloured stools
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain
- Itching of the skin
- Vomiting blood or bloody/black stools
- Loss of libido
Liver Health – What can you do?
If you ignore the health of your liver and problems start to arise – serious irreversible damage can occur if left untreated. A damaged liver that has no way of repairing itself can have debilitating effects on the quality of your life. There are not many effective treatments that can alleviate liver disease. The best medicine is prevention so start taking steps to ensure the health of your liver now. Use a holistic approach by eating fresh, healthy food; limiting your alcohol intake, no smoking or other drugs and exercise often. These measures go a long way to warding off many ailments including liver damage. Be your liver’s friend and with good support, you can help it work optimally throughout your life.