World Liver Day 2021: All You Need To Know About Liver Health

On 19 April every year, World Liver Day is observed worldwide to spread awareness about liver-related conditions, diseases, and how to keep your liver healthy.

The liver is the second-largest and a complex body organ. It is critical for your body’s digestive system. Everything we intake, including medicine, passes through the liver.

The liver can be easily damaged if you don’t take good care of it, and you can’t survive without it.
It performs numbers of complex functions, including:

  • Fighting illness and infections
  • Controlling blood sugar levels
  • Removing toxicity from the body
  • Controlling cholesterol
  • Helping blood to thicken
  • Releasing bile, which helps in digestion

The liver receives blood with nutrients via a vein known as the portal vein from the digestive organs.

The liver cells, recognized as hepatocytes, filter this blood and act as distributing centers, determining which nutrient should be stored, processed, sent back, and eliminated via stool.

It stores and releases vitamins and minerals such as copper and iron when the body needs them.

It also aids in breaking down the fat from the food. It either stores the fat or releases it as energy.

It also produces an approximated 800 to 1,000 milliliters of bile every day.

This bile is carried to the small intestine through a bile duct. The small intestine uses bile juice to break down fats further. The remaining extra bile is stored in the gallbladder.

The liver also breaks down fats, and through this process, ammonia gets produced as a by-product, which can be noxious to the body in substantial amounts.

Then the liver turns ammonia into urea and releases it into the bloodstream, where the kidneys discharge it via urine.

The liver breaks down any medications or alcohol in the blood as well.

As if these functions weren’t sufficient, the liver also breaks down damaged and old RBCs.

Considering all of these factors, it’s easy to see how significant the liver is to a person’s well-being.

How does the liver regenerate?

The liver is truly a fantastic organ in that it has regenerative properties.

This means that following an injury or tissue removal surgery, the liver tissue can regenerate (grow back) to a certain extent.

The existing cells in the liver start enlarging. Then the new cells start to multiply.

Within a week after removing a partial part of the liver, it can return to the original weight.

What diseases can develop in the liver?

Many different diseases can affect the functioning of the liver, including:

    • Autoimmune hepatitis
      This ailment causes the immune system to attack itself and subsequently consume healthy liver tissue.
      This condition can lead to cirrhosis and liver damage.
    • Biliary atresia
      This condition adversely affects the bile ducts and bile flow.
      There are treatments available for Biliary atresia, but it can cause affect liver tissue and cause scarring if left untreated.
    • Cirrhosis
      Several other conditions can cause cirrhosis; in this condition, the scar tissue supersedes healthy liver tissue.The cause of this disease can be long-term excessive alcohol use, rare genetic disorders, or chronic hepatitis.
    • Hemochromatosis
      This condition causes excess iron build up in the body, which can damage the liver.

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is most common in developing countries that lack clean drinking water and have inadequate sanitation systems; it refers to a viral infection that causes inflammation in the liver.
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis can be the cause of serious complexities, including liver failure and even cancer. The disease most commonly spreads through sexual contact. There’s a vaccination available to prevent this disease.
Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C can be a chronic infection. It most commonly spreads by sharing unclean needles to inject drugs or apply tattoos.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease :
In this condition, excess fat builds in the liver, damaging the liver, causing swelling.

Symptoms of Liver Disease

There are several liver diseases. Many conditions initially show flu-like symptoms and progressive get severe.
These symptoms of liver problems include:

  • fatigue & loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • joint pain & stomach pain
  • nose bleeds
  • skin itch
  • lower sex impulse

More severe symptoms are:

  • jaundice
  • Unclear thinking capability
  • Ascites(abdominal swelling)
  • Edema (swelling of the legs)
  • gynecomastia (male breast issues)
  • enlarged liver
  • dark-colored urine
  • pale-colored excrement

If you’re undergoing any of these symptoms, visit your doctor promptly.

Tips for Liver Cleansing

  • Eat carrot, grapefruit, apple, and walnuts.
  • Use olive oil in cooking.
  • Take lime juice & green tea.
  • Prefer alternative grains like Buckwheat, Millet, and Quinoa.
  • Add green vegetables like Cabbage, Broccoli, and Cauliflower to your diet.
  • Include turmeric in your diet.

How to keep your liver healthy

These lifestyle adjustments can help you keep a healthy liver:

  • practice safety during sex.
  • Don’t share your personal care items or needles.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a proper diet with an adequate amount of protein, fiber, and vitamins.
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

Say NO to Alcohol:
Alcohol, smoking, or drugs can damage the liver severely. Even avoid passive smoking.

Only take prescribed medicine: When medicines are taken incorrectly or in the wrong combination, the liver can be damaged easily.

Avoid toxic chemicals: Chemicals in cleaning products, air fresheners, and insecticides are toxic and can injure liver cells.

Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors