Everything You Need To Know About The Liver

Follow a healthy lifestyle to protect and keep your liver in good condition.

  1. What is the function of the liver in human body?

The functions of liver are as follows:

  1. Fights infections

  2. Regulates blood sugar levels

  3. Releases bile that helps in digestion

  4. Makes proteins

  5. Controls cholesterol

  6. Removes toxins

  7. What is liver disease?

Any condition that damages the liver and prevents the organ from proper functioning is known as liver disease.

  1. What are the types of liver diseases?

Most common types are:

  1. Hepatitis A- highly contagious infection of the liver caused by hepatitis A virus

  2. Hepatitis B- serious liver infection caused by the virus hepatitis B

  3. Hepatitis C- virus causing an infection that damages and causes inflammation of the liver

  4. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease- accumulation of liver fat in individuals who drink little or no alcohol

  5. Alcoholic Hepatitis- inflammation of the liver due to excessive alcohol consumption

  6. Liver Cirrhosis- chronic liver damage due to a variety of causes leading to scarring and liver failure

  7. Hemochromatosis- inherited condition due to excessive iron absorption, leading to high levels of iron in blood and iron deposits in multiple joints.

  8. What are the causes of liver diseases?

Causative factors are as follows:

  1. Excessive consumption of alcohol and drug abuse

  2. Sedentary lifestyle

  3. Consuming unhealthy food

  4. Obesity

  5. Infection

  6. Exchange of bodily fluid

  7. Abnormality in immune system

  8. Abnormal gene

  9. Cancer

 5. What are the symptoms of liver disease?

Signs and symptoms of liver disease include:

  1. Yellowish appearance of skin and eyes (jaundice)

  2. Abdominal pain and swelling

  3. Itchy skin

  4. Chronic fatigue

  5. Nausea or vomiting

  6. Dark urine colour

  7. Pale stool colour, or bloody stool

  8. Swelling in the legs and ankles

  9. Loss of appetite, weight loss

  10. What tests are performed to diagnose a liver disease?

Test for diagnosis include:

  1. Complete Blood Count

  2. Liver Function Test- total protein, alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), and bilirubin

  3. Prothrombin Time

  4. Blood Albumin Level

Other tests to detect liver damage include:

  1. Ultrasound of the abdomen

  2. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the abdomen

  3. Computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen

  4. Liver biopsy

  5. What are the treatment options for liver diseases?

Treatment for liver diseases depends on an individual patient’s diagnosis. Certain liver problems can be treated with:

  1. Lifestyle modification and monitoring: terminating alcohol consumption, losing weight and proper monitoring of liver function

  2. Medications

  3. Surgery

  4. Liver transplant- when the condition progresses to liver failure

  5. Can liver damage be reversed?

The liver is a unique organ in the body that has a special ability to regenerate. It can replace damaged tissue with new cells. Complications of liver disease occur when regeneration is incomplete or prevented by progressive scar tissue within the liver.

This occurs when the damage causing agent such as a virus, drug, alcohol, etc., continues to attack the liver and prevents complete regeneration. If scar tissue has developed it is very difficult to reverse the process.

  1. What should be done to prevent liver diseases?

  2. Avoid alcohol consumption and smoking

  3. Refrain from illicit drug use

  4. Get vaccinated

  5. Protect your skin- from toxic chemicals and insecticides

  6. Maintain a healthy weight

  7. Use medications wisely

  8. Practice safe sex

  9. Regular health check up

  10. For what conditions do vaccines work as prevention?

Vaccines are available to prevent conditions of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.

  1. What should be included in diet to maintain a healthy liver?

  2. Have foods from all the food groups: grains, protein, dairy products, and fats

  3. Include foods rich in fibres: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, rice and cereals

  4. What are the possible complications of Liver disease?

Liver disease can lead to:

  1. Bacterial Infections

  2. Kidney Failure

  3. Liver Cancer

  4. Hepatic Encephalopathy- mental confusions, coma

  5. Portal Hypertension- increased pressure in the blood vessels present in liver

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