The liver is the largest internal organ of a person, which plays a critical role in ensuring the functioning of the body. The liver not only filters and removes harmful substances from the body, it also participates in the digestion of food and contributes to the storage of energy. Your liver is very vulnerable, and if you want this organ to function properly, you must take care of its health. This article will guide you on how to maintain liver health by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding exposure to harmful substances that cause liver damage. In addition, in the article you will find information that will help you recognize in time the typical signs of liver dysfunction, both in yourself and in those around you.
Part 1 of 3: Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Step 1. Eat healthy foods
One of the safest ways to keep baking healthy is eating healthy. Eat a balanced diet and try to keep your food as low as possible in trans fats and simple sugars. These substances are found in many convenience foods and processed foods, including chips, soda and deep-fried foods, and have been shown to have a negative effect on the liver.
- In addition, convenience foods and processed foods contain many additives that are necessary to maintain the freshness and appearance of foods, which creates additional work for the liver to eliminate these substances.
- If you want your liver (and your body as a whole) to be healthy, keep your intake of processed and processed foods to a minimum. Better to cook your own food, using only fresh food wherever possible.
Step 2. Consider switching to organic foods to avoid exposure to pesticides and other chemicals
In the production of such products, I use a minimum of pesticides when it comes to vegetables and fruits, and a minimum amount of antibiotics and hormones. if we are talking about animal husbandry. As a result, your body receives fewer harmful chemicals and additives that are filtered by the liver.
It should be noted that organic foods can also contain some residual pesticides, and there is no consensus on how much healthier such foods are than conventional foods. However, you can try organic food. Either way, it won't harm your liver, and in addition, you will help preserve the environment
Step 3. Drink coffee
Recent research in hepatology shows that people who regularly drink coffee, including those who drink decaffeinated coffee, have 25% fewer people who have liver enzyme disorders. Scientists cannot yet explain the mechanism of this phenomenon, but drinking coffee does help the normal functioning of the liver.
Step 4. Go in for sports
Regular exercise not only helps maintain a healthy body weight, but also promotes liver health. Research shows that even 150 minutes of exercise per week (that's only half an hour of daily exercise for five days a week) is enough to optimize liver enzyme levels and improve liver function. It also reduces the risk of developing liver steatosis.
Step 5. Limit smoking
If you still haven't found a good enough reason to quit smoking, here's another one: Numerous studies have shown that smoking significantly increases the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Step 6. Protect yourself from hepatitis
Hepatitis is an inflammatory disease of the liver, usually caused by a virus. The three most common types of hepatitis are A, B and C, and they are all contagious, but hepatitis C is transmitted primarily through a shared intravenous needle. There are vaccines against hepatitis A and B.
- Follow the rules of personal hygiene: always wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet and after changing your baby's diaper.
- Hepatitis B is usually transmitted through unprotected sex, so always use a condom.
- Do not share injection needles with other people, and try not to come into contact with other people's blood.
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
Part 2 of 3: Avoid Harmful Substances
Step 1. Limit alcohol consumption
When your liver metabolizes alcohol, it releases a lot of toxic substances that can damage liver cells. Alcoholic liver disease develops as a result of excessive alcohol consumption and accounts for 37% of all deaths caused by liver disease. The risk group for this disease includes people suffering from alcohol dependence, women, overweight people, as well as people with a hereditary predisposition to this disease. Regular alcohol consumption can also lead to the development of a condition called steatosis, or fatty liver disease. However, the good news is that the liver is able to regenerate better than any other organ in our body, and problems caused by alcohol can stop progressing and even disappear.
- If you drink a lot of alcohol, we recommend that you take a break for at least a short time. Refrain from drinking alcohol for at least two weeks, this is the time it takes for the liver to begin to recover. If you have been drinking a lot, take a break from alcohol altogether. Your liver needs 2 weeks alcohol-free to begin the healing process.
- After that, reduce your alcohol consumption to 4-5 units per day (700 milliliters of beer) if you are a man, and to 2-3 units (500 milliliters of beer) if you are a woman.
Step 2. Be careful when taking medications containing paracetamol (eg Panadol)
Most people assume that over-the-counter pain relievers, including paracetamol, are completely harmless. However, an overdose of paracetamol-containing drugs is one of the most common causes of liver damage. In the United States alone, about 1000 people die each year from a (mostly accidental) paracetamol overdose. Remember that paracetamol is a drug and always use it strictly according to the instructions.
- Even one paracetamol overdose is enough to cause very serious liver problems.
- Before giving paracetamol to a child, be sure to check with your pediatrician or pharmacist for the exact dosage you need. …
- Do not drink alcohol at the same time as taking paracetamol, and always ask your doctor's advice before taking paracetamol along with other medicines.
- Take special care when giving paracetamol to children. It is very easy to make a mistake in a variety of drugs that differ in name and concentration. If in doubt, call your pediatrician or ask your pharmacist for exact dosage instructions.
- Do not forget to check if medicines contain paracetamol in a hidden form. There are quite a few preparations containing paracetamol in their composition that do not use the name of this substance as a name. Many complex medicines, for example, drugs for flu and colds (Coldrex), Alka-Seltzer Plus and even children's cold drugs often contain paracetamol in their composition. Always read the information on the packaging carefully to make sure that you do not take the same active ingredient twice in different medicines.
Step 3. Be extremely careful when taking prescription drugs
Any drug puts a strain on the liver, since this organ must do additional work in order to metabolize the drug and remove toxic metabolic products from the body. However, there are drugs that overload the liver and cause damage to the liver, especially when taken in conjunction with other substances. Statins (drugs that lower blood cholesterol levels), amiodarone (an antiarrhythmic drug), and even some antibiotics, such as the often prescribed amoxicillin, are potentially harmful to the liver.
- Always take these and other medicines exactly as directed, and always ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking these medicines with any other medicines, vitamins, dietary supplements, or alcohol.
- Not all antibiotics are harmful to the liver, but in any case, alcohol should be avoided while taking these medicines. Give your body the opportunity to recover as soon as possible.
Step 4. Try to avoid exposure to toxic substances
Exposure to pesticides, heavy metals, and harmful substances that cause water and air pollution can increase your risk of developing liver disease. Try to avoid contact with these substances as much as possible, and use appropriate safety measures when contact cannot be avoided.
- Whenever possible, use organic detergents to clean your home. This will help reduce the effects of chemicals on the body. cleaning products in your home whenever possible to reduce your exposure to chemicals.
- Consider installing water and air filters in your home to help reduce your exposure to harmful environmental pollutants.
Part 3 of 3: How to Recognize Signs of Liver Dysfunction
Step 1. Learn how to recognize the symptoms of liver disease
Because the liver is invisible to the eye, many people do not realize that something is wrong with their liver until the liver disease or damage is severe enough. The following are signs of liver dysfunction, which usually appear gradually and get worse over time. If you experience these symptoms or some of them, especially yellowing of the skin, see your doctor immediately and tell him about your concerns:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dark urine and light stool
- Abdominal pain
- Jaundice: the skin and / or the whites of the eyes turn yellow
Learn to recognize the symptoms of acute liver failure. Acute liver failure can develop very quickly in a perfectly healthy person, and often goes unrecognized until the liver is severely damaged. If you or someone you know suddenly has some or all of the following symptoms, especially jaundice (the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow), extreme fatigue, unexplained disorientation and dizziness, seek immediate medical attention. Acute liver failure is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Jaundice: the skin and / or the whites of the eyes turn yellow
- Pain in the right hypochondrium
- General malaise: a feeling that something is wrong in the body
- Impaired orientation in space and confusion
- Severe unexplained sleepiness
Step 2. Do a test called a liver function test
Since liver damage and disease progresses gradually and unnoticed, it is up to you to check the health of your liver yourself. Do you have any reason to suspect that your liver has been affected by factors such as drinking alcohol or excessive drug intake? Are you worried about possible liver damage due to the hepatitis virus? Have you had any serious liver disease in your family history? Make an appointment with your doctor and ask him to give you a referral for a liver function test (LFR). This simple blood test can save your life!