Liver is a large, football-sized organ, which sits in the right part of your belly, just under the rib cage.
Healthy liver removes toxic agents from your blood, generates bile to help you digest foods, stores glucose and secretes clotting elements.
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Unlike many other organs, the liver has ability to repair itself after damage, developing new, healthy cells.
If the liver loses ability to work properly, the situation may be really serious.
American Liver Foundation statistic shows that one in ten Americans live with some type of liver disease.
Hundreds of people visit their doctors, complaining of painful sensations in the liver. However sometimes it is confused with pain in the shoulder or stomach.
There is wide variety of factors, which may affect your liver health, despite its ability to repair destroyed cells.
The most common causes are viral infections. Viruses of hepatitis A, B or C can spread to your body through the contaminated blood, semen or even water (only for hepatitis A). Hepatitis B and C often turn into the chronic illnesses, which can stay symptomless for a long time, killing hepatic cells bit by bit and impairing liver function.
Another possible reason is about errors in immune response, when body's protective mechanisms start to destroy liver cells by mistake, thinking that they are foreign bodies.
Some people get liver problems from their parent through inherited genetic abnormalities (Wilson's disease, hemochromatosis, hyperoxaluria).
Your liver is one of the most important cleansing organs. It metabolizes and eliminates alcohol, toxins and medications. But if you consume too much alcohol or take certain drugs for a long time, the liver becomes overloaded and fails to perform its function.
Cancer is also a well-known culprit of liver dysfunction, although it's not as common, as breast or skin cancers.
With time, untreated liver disease gets worse. Liver tissues isn't able to substitute all damaged cells, and scar tissue tends to appear on the place of destroyed cells. This leads to liver failure and loss of vital functions.
Pain and heaviness in the upper right abdomen is often a first sign of liver disease. In some cases, it is accompanied by other symptoms:
#1. Yellowing of the skin and eye whites (jaundice)
#2. Nausea and vomiting, which indicate accumulation of the toxins
#3. Unbearable want to scratch the skin, caused by buildup of bilirubin – chemical, formed after breakdown of old red blood cells and normally eliminated through the bile
#4. Reduced appetite
#5. Easy bruising
#6. Fluid accumulation in the belly and legs that results in swelling
#7. General weakness and fatigue
#8. Dark urine
#9. Pale stool
If any of these symptoms appear, your doctor will examine your abdominal area, ask about your health history and recommend blood tests to check your liver function.
Imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scan or MRI often help healthcare specialists to find liver damage and understand its severity.
Nowadays we have a lot of medicines and surgery methods to treat liver disease and relieve unpleasant symptoms.
But it's much better to prevent disease than to treat it.
First of all, go easy on alcohol. Drinking more than eight drinks per week for women and more than fifteen beverages a week for men puts in high-risk group for liver disease.
Stay off risky behaviors like sharing needles or having unprotected intercourses with many partners.
Ask your doctor about vaccination against hepatitis A and B, especially if you have high risks for getting these illnesses.
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Take medications only if your really need them. And avoid mixing your pills with alcohol.
It’s very important to maintain healthy weight. Obesity can not only cause atherosclerosis, arthritis, heart disease and insulin resistance, but also trigger development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!
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