People in our society do not have proper awareness about liver diseases as much as they have on diseases like Cancer and Heart diseases. Liver diseases can be cured only if we change our lifestyle of eating, drinking and binging on alcohol.
All are scared of diseases like heart attack and cancer. We all know that the reasons for such wide spread of cancer and heart diseases are due to our wrong lifestyles, food habits and alcoholism. Even though sincere efforts are carried out to cure these disorders by waking up in the morning, indulging in organic farming, going for walks and the like.
All these are welcome
In the coming years, hopefully we may be able to control diseases of the heart, strokes, and deadly diabetes in a healthy manner.
We are aware of the nuances of major heart diseases and diabetes. What we are unaware of is about the ever increasing liver diseases. The diseases of the liver like – fatty liver condition, Hepatitis and cirrhosis are seen to even attack youngesters too. The reason for the high increase in liver diseases is unhealthy food habits, lifestyle sans exercise and overuse of alcohol. If we examine the lives of famous people, we can understand that a number of great artists have lost their lives due to the attack of liver diseases. Apart from this there are a lot of unknown personalities who had to succumb their lives due to different liver disorders. Unfortunately, we do not have the know-how on liver diseases like we have about cancer and heart diseases. Only if we correct our lifestyles of excess eating and drinking can we escape from the attack of liver disorders. The need to spread the awareness about how to control and prevent liver diseases is seen to be very essential these days.
Liver is everything
Liver only controls the nutrients in the food we eat like carbohydrates, protein and other fatty foods. Liver only gives direction to more than 500 chemical reactions that take place in our body. In emergency situations, liver is able to break down glycogen to glucose. It is only when these systems are not functioning effectively that people with liver diseases face a disturbance in their normal sugar-level.
The production of albumin, which is an element of protein; hormones that are secreted to improve digestion of fatty substances; elements secreted for encouraging the clotting of blood; clearing the toxins from the blood and many more functions are carried out by the big factory called the liver. Liver has the magic property of re-birth. Even if three parts out of four of the liver is damaged or cut off it will grow back to its normal state within six to eight weeks.
Liver has a great capacity to endure suffering and restrain itself. Even if 80 percent of this organ is destroyed it can still function to its full capacity. It is this functionally important organ that works for us day and night that we tend to destroy by eating and drinking abnormally.
The uniqueness of liver diseases is that they occur in parts. A person does not contract liver disease abruptly. Liver diseases progress only after giving the donor enough time to correct itself. If proper care and attention is given during the initial stages one can easily overcome any disease connected to this organ.
Fatty Liver: This is the first stage of liver disease. This is stage when the cells of the liver get filled with fat. This disease might not show any symptoms but can be identified while going for a usual check up. Inflammation in the liver might be the only physical symptom. Other symptoms may be pain on the right side of the stomach, no hunger, nausea, yellow fever and other symptoms. When blood test is done, an increase in the level of the enzymes (SGOT, SGPT) secreted by this organ is observed. Another uniqueness of this condition called fatty liver is that in case we are interested in stopping alcoholism that can lead to this disease, the liver can get back to its original healthy state. But just in case enough precautions are not taken this condition will progress to hepatitis.
Hepatitis and Yellow Fever
Hepatitis is a condition when the liver swells or gets inflammated. The main symptom of hepatitis is yellow fever. This is caused by the damage on the cells of the liver leading to infection and changes in the basic structure of this organ. Apart from yellow fever, other symptoms include, fever, stomach ache and loss of appetite. On testing the blood, an increase in the production of enzymes of the liver will be observed. If the causative factors and symptoms of hepatitis are controlled in the beginning itself, then the health of this organ can be reclaimed.
Liver becomes stone because of Cirrhosis
The last and final stage of a liver disease is Cirrhosis. The liver which is very soft becomes shrivelled and hard because of Cirrhosis. Here, the cells of the liver get destroyed leading to the destruction of the organ itself.
Other symptoms of Cirrhosis include loss of appetite, tiredness, yellow fever, decrease in body weight and muscle weakness. It is the complications of cirrhosis that put the patient in a dangerous state. Also, people with Cirrhosis face hypertension leading to hemorrage. The patient may also start to vomit blood, stool becomes black, blood being expelled along with stool and other grave symptoms set in . In patients with Cirrhosis, the liver will completely lose its ability to function and the patient may live in a state of coma. Another dangerous situation that a person with Cirrhosis can face is the Hepatitis Cellular Carcinoma which is a form of liver cancer.
Alcohol – the main villain
Consumption of alcohol could be the main reason for liver diseases. Ninety pere cent of those who consume alcohol continuously are affected by fatty liver. Ten to 20% of these people who are addicted to heavy alcoholism get Hepatitis. Cirrhosis occurs to those people who are addicted to alcohol for more than 10 years. This disease affects women more than men. In days of yore fatty liver was a condition found in people over 90 years of age, but now-a-days it is found in teenagers addicted to alcoholism. It is a misunderstanding that one can avoid these diseases to an extent by having healthy nutritional food along with their habit of alcoholism.
Alcohol is not the only reason
The increasing number of liver diseases in today’s world is not only because of alcoholism. Change of lifestyle, different food patterns, excessive dependence on medicine are some of the reasons for liver diseases to be put under the category of lifestyle diseases. Consuming excessive fatty foods with high calories tend to make children obese and also result in fatty liver condition among children. Foods like chips, fried items, pastry, cake increases the viscosity of the blood leading to fatty liver condition. Today’s lifestyle is stamped with a routine sans exercise and food intake that is full of fat. These two unhealthy habits lead to obesity. This, in turn, leads to a long list of diseases. Thus, fatty liver condition occurs even if there is no alcohol consumption. This condition is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Hepatitis B, C
This disease is spread through blood and other liquids of the body. This disease is spread through the blood by virus. But, now since there are strict guidelines formulated for the transfer of blood the option of getting the disease through blood can be ruled out. Using the same syringe for various purposes can be another reason for the spread of the disease. Apart from all these, having sexual encounters with a partner having the disease tends to assist in spreading the disease.
Increase in the spread of Liver Cancer
Increase in liver disorders like fatty liver, cirrhosis and hepatitis leads to increase in the affliction of liver cancer. It is found that 80% of people who have liver cancer seem to have been afflicted with liver cirrhosis due to different reasons. Also, diseases like Hepatitis B & C can lead to liver cancer. Alcoholism is seen to be a problem adversely affecting our society at large and hence liver cancer is common among people these days.
Tips to save your Liver
- Avoid alcoholism completely
- Have food that is good and healthy. Completley avoid fried foods, fast foods and junk foods. Also, avoid bakery food items that are fatty and very sweet.
- Restrict eating out to just one or two times in a month.
- Include fruits and a lot of vegetables in your diet.
- Do excercise regularly and thus control your body weight. For the health of the liver, excercise for atleast 30-45 minutes. Walking, Jogging, Swimming, Cycling are some of the excercises that one can indulge in.
- Control diabetes, high BP and cholesterol through proper food and excercise.
- Take necessary precautions while donating blood.
- Use disposable syringe while taking injections. Also, avoid unnecessary injections.
- Take medicines only on the advise of your doctor. Reduce heavy use of sterioids and hormones as they are bound to cause destruction to the liver.
- When you see symptoms of yellow fever, consult a doctor immediately.
- Take vaccine against diseases like Hepatitis B & A
- Maintain hygiene while having sex.
- Maintain hygiene while having food also.
- After 40 years, make sure to check the health of your liver annually.