You only have one liver… and you need your liver in order to LIVE.
Maybe that is why it is called a LIVEr?
Although some unpreventable diseases can attack your liver, many people who suffer from liver disease due to their own over indulgence and bad lifestyle choices!
Please make Liver Wise choices this Holiday season, 2020 has been a tough enough year.
What is the liver anyway?
Your liver is an organ about the size of a rugby ball, located under your rib cage on the right of your abdomen.
The liver produces bile which helps the body absorb fat into the bloodstream, and also gets rid of all the toxic or poisonous substances in your body.
Liver diseases can be genetic, but many liver problems can also be caused by various factors that lead to damage of the liver e.g. viruses, alcohol use and obesity. Cirrhosis (scaring of the liver) happens over time which can lead to liver failure but, can heal over time if treated early.
What causes liver diseases?
Infections: Your liver function can be reduced when infected by parasites and viruses causing your liver to become inflamed. The virus causing liver damage is spread through blood, semen, contaminated food or water and infected persons. Hepatitis viruses are the most common types of liver infections including Hepatitis A,B and C.
Immune system abnormalities: Autoimmune disease is when your immune system attacks certain parts of your body which can affect your liver.
Genetics: Abnormal gene inherited from one parent or both parents can cause build up of substances in your liver resulting in liver damage.
Lifestyle risk factors:
- Heavy alcohol use
- Type 2 diabetes
- Tattoos or body piercings – heavy metals in the blood
- Injecting drugs using shared needles – drugs and infection
- Blood transfusion before 1992 – Infections
- Exposure to other people’s blood and body fluids – Hepatitis and other infections
- Unprotected sex – Hepatitis, and other infections.. yes, Hepatitis B is an STI!
- Exposure to certain chemicals or toxins – liver cleans the blood so overworking your cleaning organ will wear it out
- Family history of liver disease
Symptoms of liver problems could include:
- Jaundice (skin and eyes appear yellow)
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Swollen legs and ankles
- Dry, itchy skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dark coloured urine
- Pale stool colour (looks like putty)
- Chronic fatigue and tiredness
How to protect your liver?
- Limit your alcohol intake to 3 or less servings at any given time.
- This does not mean that if you had no alcohol that you can have 6 today! It means, 3 servings a day, maximum, every time.
- Avoid risky behaviour, including casual sex, unsafe tattoo ink, unsafe body jewellery, etc.
- Get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B
- Use medication wisely as many drugs are broken down in the liver. Over use of any medication, prescription or not, can lead to liver disease.
- Avoid contact with other people’s bodily fluids e.g. blood,urine and semen.
- Eat healthily.
- Maintain a healthy BMI – just keep healthy!
Liver function testing
Liver function tests can be done using various types of blood tests.
Make an appointment with our doctor if you observe any of these symptoms that worry you or if you wish to test your liver function.
HSP Group offers corporate on-site education
You only have one liver!