While we pay a lot of attention to heart health and keeping our brains sharp, there are some organs that don’t get the attention they deserve. The liver is not only one of those organs, but it’s also one of your most important organs. Put simply, you can’t live without your liver.
So how do you know if your liver is healthy, and what do you have to do to regain liver health and help maintain it?
How to Determine if Your Liver Is Healthy
The liver plays an essential role in digestion and detoxification. Liver disease can come from genetic factors, or there can be outside factors such as alcohol use, viruses, and obesity.
Damage that occurs to the liver repeatedly or over time can lead to cirrhosis, or scarring, which can then progress to liver failure, a life-threatening condition.
The most common signs and symptoms of liver disease include the following:
♦ Yellowish hue to skin and the whites of your eyes
♦ Pain in the abdomen with possible swelling
♦ Swelling in your legs and ankles
♦ Itchy skin
♦ Urine appears darker than usual
♦ Stool is either pale, bloody, or tar-colored
♦ You feel constantly tired
♦ Nausea and/or vomiting
♦ Feeling a loss of appetite
♦ You bruise easily
Not all of the above symptoms are always related to liver disease, so that might not always be the diagnosis. In addition, it’s key to note that you may experience more than one of these symptoms concurrently.
If these symptoms persist, it’s time to visit your healthcare professional. If you have severe abdominal pain, you need immediate medical attention.
If you feel that medical attention is necessary, your doctor will need to determine what type of problems you are having with your liver, the extent of the damage you have, and what the likely cause of the problem is.
To do this, they will start with a health history and an examination. Most likely, this will be followed up by liver function blood tests and some other blood tests that can look for outside problems and genetic conditions.
There may then be imaging tests to show the level of damage. These tests include ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs.
Finally, they may do a tissue analysis, otherwise known as a biopsy. Taking a small piece of tissue directly from the liver and analyzing it in a laboratory, can tell them a lot more about what type of damage has occurred and how extensive the damage is.
How to Support and Maintain Liver Health
The treatment for a liver condition depends on the diagnosis. Some problems can be treated by lifestyle changes like consuming less or no alcohol or losing weight. Sometimes you’ll require surgery to treat your liver problems, and at times, if there is liver failure, a transplant is needed.
If you want to be proactive and support your liver while it’s still healthy or at a point where not much damage has been done, you’re in luck. Making that decision today can make a big difference in your liver health in the future.
The following ways to prevent liver disease are most effective when used in combination with one another.
♦ Take a liver supplement: A high-quality liver supplement boosts your liver health in several different ways. The proprietary blend of natural and effective ingredients aids in liver detoxification, helps with regeneration, supports a healthy metabolism, and fights free radicals.
♦ Drink alcohol only in moderation or not at all: Your liver is assigned the task of detoxifying alcohol in your body, so the more you drink, the harder it is on your liver, and this can lead to alcoholic liver cirrhosis.
♦ Avoid risky behaviors: In addition to alcohol misuse, the use of intravenous drugs, sharing needles, having unprotected sex, and even tattoos and body piercings can be dangerous.
♦ Get vaccinated for hepatitis: Hepatitis is particularly damaging to your liver, so protecting yourself from this virus can be a big help. Ask to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B. Another way to avoid hepatitis is by avoiding contact with other people’s blood and bodily fluids.
♦ Watch medication use: There are many prescription and over-the-counter medications that can be hard on the liver, especially if you combine them with alcohol. Go through the list of these medications with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to make sure you’re not overusing these products or taking them when you shouldn’t be taking them at all.
♦ Protect yourself from toxic substances: You don’t just need to ingest something for your liver to be affected. Inhaling insecticides and other toxic substances and getting them on your skin can damage your liver, too.
♦ Watch your weight: Being obese can cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, so maintaining a healthy weight is key.
♦ The best thing about your liver is it’s the only organ in your body that’s able to regenerate. Most of your organs produce a scar if there is damage, like your skin, your lungs, and your heart. That area is then never exactly the same as before, and if there is severe scarring, it loses some function.
The liver is different because it can replace the damaged area with new, healthy cells. The problem is when the damaging agent continues to attack the liver, and complete regeneration is not possible.
Your liver doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It’s one of the hardest working organs in your body, and without it, you’d perish.
If you feel you have liver disease or liver damage, it’s best to connect with your healthcare provider so they can perform the necessary tests to determine the cause and the extent of the damage. The diagnosis is a crucial part of the treatment.
For some, the treatment for their liver damage involves some lifestyle changes. These changes are not only good for people who already have liver damage, but they’re also a good way to protect a healthy liver.
If you want to support your liver’s health, take a supplement designed to aid your liver, reduce or eliminate your alcohol consumption, avoid risky behaviors, protect yourself from hepatitis, and stay away from toxic products as much as possible.
The best news is that while you’re doing what you can to maintain liver health, your liver is constantly working to undo any damage that’s been done. It’s a miraculous organ.
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