Updated: April 19, 2021 2:32:19 pm
World Liver Day is observed on April 19 every year to spread awareness about liver-related conditions and diseases. The theme for this year is ‘Keep your liver healthy and disease-free.’
“The liver is the second largest and the second most complex organ in the body, after the brain. It is responsible for performing crucial functions related to immunity, digestion, metabolism, storage of absorbed nutrients, and excretion. Keeping your liver in good shape is the key to preventing liver diseases,” said Dr. Amit Jain, MS MCh (GI Surgery) FMAS FALS FIAGES, who also consults on Practo.
He added that the incidence of liver diseases is rising steadily in India. “Reports suggest that liver diseases are the 10th most common cause of death in India,” he told indianexpress.com.
Liver diseases refer to any disorders of the liver that hamper its proper functioning. Viruses, genetic or lifestyle factors including overconsumption of alcohol, excessive smoking, unhealthy eating habits, obesity, etc., are known to cause damage to your liver, resulting in liver failure.
Know that your liver does not show any immediate signs and symptoms of deterioration unless it is severely damaged. However, classic symptoms of liver disease include nausea, vomiting, upper abdominal pain, and jaundice.
In order to take good care of your liver, below are some tips you must follow, he suggested.
Maintain a healthy weight
— Obesity can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), one of the fastest-growing forms of liver disease.
Eat a balanced diet
— Avoid high calorie-meals, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, white rice and regular pasta) and sugars. For a well-adjusted diet, eat fiber, which you can obtain from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, rice, and cereals. Hydration is essential, so drink a lot of water.
Take care and protect yourself against Hepatitis B or C
— Hepatitis B and C can be transmitted sexually or if there is a chance of blood-to-blood contact. Practice safe sex and avoid unnecessary sharing of toothbrushes, razors, needles and other personal care items – these can also transmit hepatitis B or C. If you are a Hepatitis B or C carrier, consult your doctor for a screening program to detect problems early. If your parents are carrier and/or you are not sure, get a Hepatitis screen. Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B. If you’re keen to get a tattoo or a piercing, take extra care to find an establishment that is clean and adheres to meticulous sterilisation practices.
— Toxins can injure liver cells. Limit direct contact with toxins from cleaning and aerosol products, insecticides, chemicals, and additives. When you do use aerosols, make sure the room is ventilated, and wear a mask.
Consume alcohol responsibly
— Alcoholic beverages can damage or destroy liver cells and scar your liver. Talk to your doctor about what amount of alcohol is right for you. You may be advised to drink alcohol only in moderation or to quit completely.
Cut down smoking or stop smoking
— There are some studies that link cigarette smoking with the development of liver cancer. Smoking can also enhance the toxic effects that some medications (such as paracetamol) have on the liver.
Avoid the use of illicit drugs
— Illicit drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics (pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) used non-medically
Follow directions on all medications
— When medicines are taken incorrectly by taking too much, the wrong type or by mixing medicines, your liver can be harmed.
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