Liver is one of the biggest organs in your body and plays a very important role to your health. One of its functions is that it filters toxins from your blood – except in your kidneys – and filters body toxins brought by food, medicines, and alcohol.
Liver also has a major role in the production of proteins, which are necessary for transporting nutrients and for blood clotting. It also produces bile, which helps in the digestion of fats and carbohydrates from what you eat. Many nutrients are also stored in your liver such as:
- Fat-soluble vitamins
- Certain fats
- Vitamins A, D, and K
- Vitamin B12
Our liver is one of our body's most important organ. And just like any other organ in our body, once abused, our liver also gets tired and worst, die. When this happens, you can never bring your liver back to its normal state.
Understanding Liver Disease
A liver disease (or also referred to as 'hepatic disease') is any disorder of liver function that causes an illness. It's actually a broad term that may cover all potential problems, which causes the liver not able to perform its duties and functions.
There are various of reasons as to how the liver loses its ability to perform its functions. These are:
- Alcohol abuse – One of the most common causes of liver disease is alcohol abuse. Frequent alcohol intake brings lots of toxins to liver cells, thus, causing liver inflammation, which is referred to as alcoholic hepatitis.
- Hepatitis B or C virus – Another cause of liver inflammation is acquiring infections such as Hepatitis B or C virus. These viruses are spread through blood transfusion, exposure to body fluids, and sexual contact.
- Fatty liver – In some cases, accumulation of fats cause damage to the liver, thus, causes inflammation and decreased function.
- Some medications – Some medications such as Tylenol, Panadol, etc, can cause temporary liver inflammation, but could also cause permanent ( through drug overdose) liver damage.
- Hereditary diseases – Hemochromatosis and Wilson's Disease are hereditary diseases that can damage the liver. The diseases involves accumulation of iron and inability to metabolize copper.
- Other diseases and conditions – Such diseases and conditions include portal hypertension
Common Signs and Symptoms
Most common signs and symptoms of liver disease are the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Persisting fever
Symptoms Due to Certain Condition
- For people with gallstones – vomiting after eating fatty foods, right upper abdominal pain, and fever (infected gallbladder).
- Cirrhosis – itching, easy bruising, muscle wasting, enlarged breast (in men), erectile dysfunction, and lethargy.
There's a specific treatment for every liver disease. For example, people with gallstones may need to undergo surgery to remove the gallbladder; and medications may be required to people with cirrhosis. But in any case, the best way to avoid liver diseases is to prevent it from occurring. You can do this by changing your lifestyle (avoiding too much alcohol), eating proper diet, exercising, and taking health supplements to help improve liver function.