The liver is the ultimate multitasking organ in our body. But, most of us don’t even care about its health.
Everything we eat or drink, including food, alcohol, junk food, medicines, aerated drinks, supplements etc passes through our liver.
What liver does?
The liver is located in the upper right abdomen area, exactly under the rib cage. It is an organ’s powerhouse.
The liver performs more than 300 functions in our body. It helps our body by converting the toxins to waste.
Some of the essential or you can say critical tasks liver perform are producing proteins, minerals, cholesterol and bile to store Vitamins. The liver is responsible for identifying the toxic substances and converting them into dischargeable waste.
A healthy liver guarantees a smooth supply of blood throughout vessels, veins, and capillaries, which ultimately are instrumental in transporting nutrients and oxygen to our cells.
How the liver becomes unhealthy?
Our liver gets overloaded when we overeat processed and fried foods. Also, due to stress and environmental pollution, it becomes overburdened.
And when the liver gets burdened, it stops converting toxins to waste.
Some of the worst foods for our liver are factory farmed dairy products – for eg. Egg, processed or packaged products made of refined oil, artificial sweeteners and colours, aerated drinks or sugary drinks, excessive alcohol, vegetables and fruits which are grown with chemical pesticides.
What is Fatty Liver?
A common liver problem in America and in Asia, especially in Indian sub-continent, is Fatty Liver.
As the name suggests, Fatty liver means excessive fat in the liver. Some amount of fat in the liver is absolutely normal.
But, when fat in the liver weighs more than 7-10 % then it becomes a fatty liver disease.
Different types of Fatty Liver
Fatty liver is of 2 types Alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease (ALD) occurs due to excessive alcohol intake in a shorter period. It is also genetic.ALD may lead to too much iron deposit or obesity or disease like Hepatitis C.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NALD) is mostly a result of an unhealthy lifestyle. Some of the key reasons for NALD are – high cholesterol level, medications, obesity, and diabetes.
Different stages of Fatty Liver
Fatty liver is categorized as Grade I and Grade II. Grade I fatty liver is very common in adults having the age of 30 – 40 or above.
Grade II fatty liver is an advanced stage of Grade I.
Fatty liver has no specific symptoms. It indicates via the signs/symptoms mentioned below.
Some important facts about fatty liver
Fatty liver is a reversible condition. A liver can be restored or cured by changing our daily lifestyle.
• If you are diabetic, your condition can improve by managing your diabetes.
• For an alcoholic and heavy drinker, the most important thing you to do right now is quit drinking to improve liver health.
• If you are overweight/obese, immediately make a plan to start losing your weight gradually.
Regular exercise along with a healthy & a balanced diet is the key to a healthy liver.
The liver is the second largest organ in our body. Most amazing fact about liver is, it regenerates new liver cells if the old cells are damaged.
But, repeated damage to liver cells will lead to liver cirrhosis.
Why is liver disease difficult to diagnose?
Many of us are not aware of the fact that, at a time only 25% of our liver is at work. Only when it gets over processed, our body requires more than 25% of the liver to function.
Many a time, severe liver diseases like Hepatitis A, B, C or Liver Cirrhosis which develops in the other 75% of the liver area have been diagnosed at last stage due to no earlier signs of a liver damage.
In Asia where people are less bothered about their regular health medical check-up, are suffering from deadly diseases like liver cancer, liver failure and liver cirrhosis due to no earlier symptoms of an unhealthy liver.
Those who get signs or symptoms of an unhealthy liver are really lucky.
17 Signs of an Unhealthy Liver
It is a kind of disorder in which one can experience extreme fatigue and tiredness which doesn’t go away easily even after taking good rest.
Negative feelings about self
Emotions carrying negative feelings make you dislike yourself and others. It also pushes your confidence low; make you feel sad and miserable.
Lethargic or feeling drained
Less in energy, you will feel sleepy and sluggish.
Headache & Migraine behind the eyes
It’s a severe head pain, pain in the neck and pain behind the eyes.
Red face, mild fever and excessive sweating indicate a severe liver problem.
You will not be able to digest fat.
Removal of Gallbladder
The gallbladder is a liver’s buddy. It is connected to the liver and stores bile which is important for digestion. When the Gallbladder is removed our body faces difficulty in digesting fatty foods which leads to indigestion.
Brain fog is a term referred to explain – lack of memory, inability to concentrate and slow response time.
Sinusitis, asthma and hay fever.
Inflammation in urine and dark yellow, orange, amber colour signals high Bilirubin excretion in the bloodstream. All these are symptoms of liver disease.
Skin rashes, itching & food sensitivities
Pain in Abdomen
Abdominal pain, bloating or swelling in the upper right abdomen, itching over liver are signs of liver damage.
Intolerance to contraceptive pills, menopausal symptoms.
Uneasiness or Restlessness
Discomfort and breathlessness
Chronic Bad breath
Foul smelling breath or bad breath caused due to toxins build-up in the main bloodstream. It is a clear symptom of liver disease.
Abrupt Weight Gain
Poor liver function or you can say if the liver filter is damaged, it is blocked by excessive waste. This results in weight gain around the abdomen area due to poor fat metabolism.
What to do if the liver is damaged?
The liver is a vital organ and is connected to other important organs of our body. An unhealthy liver may affect the overall health of our body.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you must consult your physician at the earliest.
Your Physician or Hepatologist (Liver Specialist) may guide you to undergo some basic tests – (LFT) Liver function test, Ultrasound, Fibro scan.