Here are answers to the 8 most common questions about one of your body’s largest and most important internal organs.
If you’re a healthy person, you might not think about your liver often, and for good reason: The only time this organ seems to attract attention is when it stops working well. But since the liver is such an important organ, it’s worth getting informed about it, especially if you have a history of liver problems.
- 1 A liver in super shape: 8 questions and answers to know everything
- 1.1 1. What does my liver do?
- 1.2 2. How can I keep my liver healthy?
- 1.3 3. What is the best diet to follow?
- 1.4 4. What else can I do to keep my liver healthy?
- 1.5 5. What symptoms will I notice if my liver is not working properly?
- 1.6 6. What tests can tell me if something is wrong?
- 1.7 7. Should I be tested for hepatitis C?
- 1.8 8. What is my prognosis if I am diagnosed with any type of liver disease?
A liver in super shape: 8 questions and answers to know everything
1. What does my liver do?
The liver is one of the most stressed organs in your body. It performs hundreds of functions, including processing food and beverages for later use or disposal. It’s your body’s sewage treatment plant.
2. How can I keep my liver healthy?
First of all by eating healthy. Because your liver processes food and liquids. It transforms them into stored energy and nutrients. A poor diet, for example, a diet that includes chronic alcohol consumption, can damage the liver over time. On the other hand, a healthy diet helps keep your liver functioning properly.
3. What is the best diet to follow?
Eat regular, balanced meals that include foods from all food groups (cereals, protein, fruits, vegetables, and fats).
Specifically, follow these additional dietary tips:
– Choose fiber-rich foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads, rice and cereals.
– Fill up on healthy protein, which is essential for fighting infections and healing damaged liver cells. Your best bets: Lean meats and plant sources like beans, legumes and lentils.
– Avoid trans fatty acids found in processed foods. Instead, opt for healthy fats found in nuts and seeds, avocados, flaxseeds, olive oil, and fish oils (or oily fish).
– Drink plenty of fluids.
– Avoid consuming large amounts of salty and sugary foods.
– Note, however, that you may need to follow a different diet if you have liver disease. If you have hepatitis C, for example, you should avoid foods that contain high levels of iron or salt.
4. What else can I do to keep my liver healthy?
While diet is key, it’s also important to control your weight by controlling your portion sizes and exercising regularly. Because obesity is linked to fatty liver disease: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This disease, in turn, can lead to scarring or cirrhosis of the liver, or even liver cancer or liver failure. If you are overweight, set a goal to steadily lose 10% of your current weight. Be sure to avoid fad diets that cause you to lose weight too quickly, which can put a strain on your liver.
You should also limit alcohol consumption, which can cause cirrhosis, to one drink a day for women and two for men. Even if you were once a heavy drinker and have since reduced or eliminated your alcohol intake, the damage may not show up until years later. If you’ve had a lot to drink in the past, be sure to tell your doctor. He may want to test you for underlying liver damage.
Also avoid other risky behaviors, such as drug abuse. The liver filters everything that passes through the body. Drugs too.
Finally, you can reduce your risk of liver damage from hepatitis C and hepatitis B by limiting the number of your sexual partners and avoiding intranasal or intravenous drug abuse and getting a piercing. or a tattoo with unsterilized needles.
5. What symptoms will I notice if my liver is not working properly?
If there is a problem with your liver, you may experience the following symptoms:
Gastrointestinal problems like nausea and vomiting
Dark colored urine
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
6. What tests can tell me if something is wrong?
You’ll start with a blood test called a liver function test, which can detect if your liver has abnormal levels of enzymes.
But a normal liver function test does not guarantee that your liver is healthy. Especially if you have a history that raises concerns about your liver. The reverse may also be true: Abnormal test results do not necessarily mean you have liver problems. Even temporary conditions such as severe infections, pregnancy, and muscle trauma, among others, can alter test results. Depending on your history and symptoms, your doctor may decide to have you undergo further tests, including an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI.
7. Should I be tested for hepatitis C?
It is important to know your risk of getting hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that is spread mainly through contact with the blood of someone infected with the virus. About 75-85% of people infected with the hepatitis C virus will develop a chronic infection.
Factors that increase your risk of hepatitis C include
Use of intranasal or intravenous drugs at any time of life
Receiving a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
Being treated for a blood clotting problem before 1987
On long-term hemodialysis treatment
Having multiple sexual partners
If you fall into one of these categories, your doctor will recommend that you take a blood test to screen for the virus.
8. What is my prognosis if I am diagnosed with any type of liver disease?
There are many types of liver disease, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, viral hepatitis (including hepatitis C), and genetic diseases such as Wilson’s disease and hemochromatosis. In general, all of these conditions have good long-term outcomes if managed and treated properly, either through weight loss, medical monitoring, or dietary changes. In fact, all viral hepatitis is treatable, and because hepatitis C treatments are effective, most people with the disease are able to completely eliminate the virus from their body.