It is a myth that only alcoholism damages liver but there are many other lifestyle factors that deteriorates your liver health. Many things that we do in our day-to-day lives are unknowingly affecting liver functions setting a ground for liver diseases. This world liver day, let's know from doctors about liver diseases and how to prevent them. Scroll down for more information.
“The 19th of April is designated as World Liver Day, with the goal of raising awareness about liver problems and promoting liver health. The liver is an essential organ of the body which is responsible for bile production, excretion of substances such as bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and medications, and lipid, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism. When the liver is unable to perform these basic activities, a variety of major health problems can develop including hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Liver disease management and prevention entails a few lifestyle changes, medications, and regular checkups”, quotes Dr. Rakhi Maiwall, Additional Professor, ILBS, Delhi
Dr. Neeraj Saraf, Director– Hepatology, Gastroenterology, Institute of Digestive and Hepatobiliary Sciences, Medanta- The Medicity, Gurugram says, “Liver diseases affect around one in every four Indians. Any illnesses of the liver that impair its appropriate function are referred to as liver diseases. Viruses, hereditary factors, and lifestyle variables such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, bad eating habits, obesity, and so on have all been linked to liver damage and liver failure. It's crucial to remember that until the liver is significantly damaged, it doesn't display any signs or symptoms of degeneration right away. Nausea, vomiting, upper abdominal pain, and jaundice are all common signs of liver disease. Limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, avoiding infection, having a hepatitis vaccine, and maintaining a healthy weight are all part of the management and prevention of liver illnesses”
What does liver do?
We all know that liver is a vital organ but what it does is still not known to most people. According to Dr. Nagender Sharma, Consultant, Medical and Haemato Oncology, Medanta- The Medicity, Gurugram, "The liver is an essential organ of the body that contributes to many important functions. To keep us healthy, the liver conducts a variety of complex processes, including cleansing and digestion. Since everything we eat and drink passes through the liver, it is vulnerable to injury if we don't look after it properly. The liver secretes roughly 800-1000 ml of bile per day, which contains salts necessary for fat digestion and eliminates waste and harmful debris from the circulation. If the liver is damaged, it must be treated as soon as possible; failure to do so might result in Liver Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer."
How To Prevent Liver Diseases
Dr. Anurag Shetty, Consultant Gastroenterology, KMC hospital Mangalore shares that Liver diseases account for approximately 2 million deaths per year worldwide and India contributes to 18.5% of these deaths. Liver diseases are known to affect everyone in 5 Indians. However, most of the causes of liver diseases are preventable by following a healthy lifestyle. Here are some lifestyle modifications that you should do to keep liver disease-free:
- Limit your alcohol intake: Alcohol is the leading cause of liver diseases worldwide. Excessive regular alcohol intake (120 ml of hard liquor for men and 60 ml for women) damages liver cells which can lead to swelling and scarring(cirrhosis) of the liver.
- Vaccinations: Vaccinations are now available which can effectively protect against hepatitis B and Hepatitis A
- Safe sex practices: Having a sexual relationship with a single partner/ use condoms can prevent the transmission of Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B
- Regular exercise: At least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily such as a brisk walk can protect u from fatty liver
- Healthy and Balanced diet: Avoid fatty foods and eat food rich in fibre. Reduce fried food, red meat and processed/junk food in your diet. Avoid high-calorie meals(pizzas/burgers) refined carbohydrates (Maida, white bread, white rice/pasta noodles) and sugars. Increase fibre rich food in your diets such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fish and white meat(chicken) should be preferred over red meat (Mutton, Beef and Pork).
- Take care of your body weight: Being overweight or accumulation of fat around your tummy and waist is a risk for fatty liver disease. Keep your weight under control through diet and exercises. Try to maintain BMI between18.5 and 22.9 kg/m2
- Avoid dietary supplements/traditional medicines: Some of the non-prescription traditional medicines and dietary supplements which are available over the counter can contain heavy metals, toxins etc which can damage the liver. There has not been much evidence or research on these medicines and can potentially damage your liver. Consult your doctor before starting on such medications.
- Get Medical care: As liver diseases are known to be silent in the early and reversible stages consult your doctor regularly to screen yourself for fatty liver, Diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension, hepatitis B, hepatitis C virus etc. and start treatment for the same as appropriate. Good control of diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol with diet, exercise and medications is important in prevention and treatment of fatty liver disease.
- Personal hygiene: washing your hands after bathroom usage, before preparing food or eating food, consuming cooked/heated food and drinking boiled water etc. can protect you from hepatitis A and E. Avoid sharing razor, needles, toothbrushes, nail clippers etc. to protect yourself from hepatitis B and C.
- Stop smoking: Smoking is known to accelerate liver diseases and promote the development of liver cancers.
These are some of the ways to prevent liver diseases, if you follow them religiously. This world liver day, lets pledge to secure our liver health in every possible way.
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