Liver Disease: In the upper right quadrant of the abdominal cavity, below the diaphragm, the liver is situated above the right kidney, stomach, and intestines. The liver is a cone-shaped, 3 lb. organ that is dark reddish brown in colour. Blood is supplied to the liver from two sources, including the following:
- The hepatic artery supplies the organ with oxygenated blood.
- Blood that is rich in nutrients enters the hepatic portal vein.
The liver holds about one pint (13%) of the body’s blood. The liver consists of two main lobes. Each segment has 1,000 lobules and is made up of eight segments (small lobes). These lobules are joined to ducts, which are teeny tubes that join with larger pipes to form the common hepatic duct. The common hepatic duct aids in the movement of bile produced by the liver cells to the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine, and the gallbladder.
The liver holds about one pint (13%) of the body’s blood. The liver consists of two main lobes. Each segment has 1,000 lobules and is made up of eight segments (small lobes). These lobules are joined to ducts, which are teeny tubes that join with larger pipes to form the common hepatic duct. The common hepatic duct aids in the movement of bile produced by the liver cells to the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine, and the gallbladder. The Liver is known for its more than 500 essential functions in our body.
Functions of Liver
The following are some of the more well-known functions:
- The Bile juice which is produced by the Liver helps the small intestine break down fats and remove waste during digestion.
- Making particular proteins for blood plasma
- Synthesis of specific proteins and cholesterol to aid the body in transporting fat
- Conversion of extra glucose to glycogen for storage, balance-keeping, and generating glucose when necessary
- Control of blood levels of amino acids, which are used to construct proteins
- Utilizing the iron content of processed haemoglobin (the liver stores iron)
- Lethal ammonia to urea conversion (The Urine excretes urea, a byproduct of protein metabolism)
- Cleansing the blood of toxins and other poisons
- Regulating blood clotting
- After the liver has metabolized harmful substances, it excretes its waste materials into the bile or blood. Bile byproducts pass through the intestine and are expelled from the body as faeces. The kidneys remove waste from the blood, which is then excreted as urine.
What are the common Liver diseases?
The term “liver disease” refers to any condition that harms the Liver and impairs its ability to function. The following are the most typical liver disease subtypes:
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
In those who drink little or no alcohol, it is the buildup of liver fat. It causes scarring and, in the end, cirrhosis, which has all the associated complications, such as liver failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and liver cancer.
Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the Liver. Hepatitis, then, is the medical term for liver inflammation. The virus that causes hepatitis can cause one of five different types. Hepatitis A and E are brought on by consuming contaminated food or water. While Hepatitis B, C, and D are due to exposure to infected blood, semen, and bodily fluids, Hepatitis A and E are brought on by consuming contaminated food or water.
The hepatitis B virus is to blame for the serious liver infection. A vaccine would easily be able to prevent it. Hepatitis B symptoms include jaundice, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dark Urine, and light stools.
The hepatitis A virus is the primary cause of this extremely contagious liver infection. Foods prepared by an infected person, contaminated stools (faeces), contaminated water, and close personal contact (such as touching hands or engaging in sex) with an infected person can all spread the hepatitis A virus to other people; however, coughing, sneezing, or hugging cannot (without skin contact).
Hepatitis A symptoms include flu-like signs and symptoms like fatigue, fever, stomach pain, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, light-coloured stools, dark Urine, and jaundice.
Alcoholic Liver Disease
Overindulging in alcohol leads to the most prevalent liver disease. Alcohol circulates in your blood if you overload your Liver by consuming too much of it. It has an impact on our hearts and brain, which increases intoxication. The consequences of this ongoing alcohol abuse are as follows:
- Cell death in the Liver
- Obese Liver
- Liver swelling
- Permanent Liver cirrhosis
- Liver tumour
The most prevalent chronic liver disease, liver cirrhosis, results from extensive liver damage over an extended period and occurs when damaged tissue replaces healthy liver tissue.
Nearly one-third of liver cirrhosis patients are still asymptomatic. Due to an alarming fatality increase, liver cirrhosis is now considered the 12th most common cause of death.
Liver cancer is second on the list of most fatal and the sixth most prevalent. It is a type of cancer that forms in the Liver, whereas metastatic cancer forms in another organ but spreads to the Liver. More people will die from this advanced liver cancer.
How common are Liver Diseases?
In total, 30 million Americans—or one in ten—have liver disease. The number of Americans with cirrhosis or chronic liver disease (CLD) is around 5.5 million. Liver diseases are becoming more prevalent in the United States as they are rising in obesity rates.
The condition known as non-alcohol-related fatty liver disease, which affects 20% to 30% of adults, is marked by excess liver fat (NAFD). To better reflect its connection to metabolic syndrome and diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity, this condition may be renamed Metabolic-Associated Fatty Liver Disease (MAFLD).
As per Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology “Chronic liver disease (CLD) and cirrhosis account for 44,000 deaths in the United States and 2 million deaths worldwide each year, in addition to a high burden of disability and increased healthcare utilization”. A full article on this can be read on their website Clinical Gastroenterol Hepatol.
What are the symptoms of Liver disease?
Some liver conditions, such as non-alcohol fatty liver disease, hardly ever result in symptoms. The most typical sign of other states is jaundice, which manifests as a yellowing of the skin and eye whites. When your Liver struggles to eliminate a substance known as bilirubin, jaundice develops. Other indicators of liver disease could be:
- Abdominal pain
- Prone to bruising.
- Change in Urine or stool colour
- Sickness or vomiting
- Arms or legs are swelling (oedema)
How do Liver Diseases Get Diagnosed?
Your doctor may also suggest one or more tests to diagnose and correctly diagnose the cause of liver disease. These may consist of the following:
Liver enzymes measure liver enzyme levels in your blood. The international normalized ratio, a blood-clotting test, is one of the additional assessments of liver function (INR). Unusual levels could be a sign that your Liver isn’t working properly.
Your doctor may use an ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan to check your Liver for signs of injury, scarring, or tumours. Fibroscan, a different specialised form of ultrasound, is used to evaluate the extent of liver fat deposition and scarring.
A small sample of liver tissue is taken from your Liver during a liver biopsy using a thin needle.
Treatment of Liver Disease
Your type of liver disease and its stage will determine how Liver Diseases should treat it. Treatment options include:
Medical professionals use medicine to treat some forms of liver disease. You can take medication for inherited conditions like Wilson’s disease or viral infectious diseases like hepatitis.
You can acquire some form of liver disease with your diet. A person should avoid alcohol, reduce fat and calorie intake, and increase fibre intake if they have fatty liver disease. Alcohol abstinence can help liver disease caused by alcohol.
A liver transplant may be the best course of treatment when liver disease leads to liver failure. A healthy liver replaces your Liver during a transplant.
Prevention of Liver Disease
The human Liver serves various purposes and is essential to the body’s digestive system. Until there is significant damage, the liver disease does not have many obvious symptoms. If the disease has spread to a substantial portion of the organ, some typical symptoms, such as appetite loss and weight loss, may be present.
Therefore, it is crucial to take care of it and have it checked periodically to maintain its health and ward off any potential liver diseases in the future. Here are some suggestions for maintaining the health and happiness of your Liver.
- A balanced diet is the most suitable way to care for your Liver and body. You must eat cereal, fresh fruit, and vegetables high in fibre.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water because doing so can also benefit your Liver.
- Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial because gaining weight can result in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Too much alcohol consumption can harm and eventually kill liver cells. One should consume alcohol sparingly or, if possible, not at all.
- By amplifying some medications’ toxic effects on the Liver, smoking can also harm your Liver. Try to stay away from smoking.
- Similarly, one should refrain from using drugs like sedatives, stimulants, and painkillers without a prescription from a physician.
Read Also: 5 Foods To Take Care Of Your Liver
Infections inherited conditions, cancer, or excess toxic substances can cause liver disease. With the help of medication or dietary modifications, healthcare professionals can successfully treat various liver diseases. A liver transplant could improve your health and lengthen your life if you have advanced liver disease.
What are the early signs of liver disease?
If any of the following appear, contact your healthcare provider right away:
- Alterations in the colour of your stool or Urine.
- Yellowing of the eyes or jaundice.
- The upper right side of your abdomen is hurting.
- Your arms or legs are swelling.
What is the outlook for those who have liver disease?
Multiple people with liver conditions can avoid severe liver damage and failure with early treatment and effective lifestyle changes.
What levels of alcohol use are dangerous to the liver?
The liver can get damaged by drinking alcohol at any level. The basic rule of thumb is different for men and women in an otherwise healthy individual without underlying liver issues:
You should restrict their alcohol use to three to four drinks per day since they can eliminate alcohol from their bodies more quickly than women owing to differences in body size, body fat, and certain enzymes. Women should limit their alcohol consumption to one to two drinks per day for the same reasons.
Wine and beer aren’t any “safer” than bourbon or other drinks. The liver is extremely vulnerable to any amount of alcohol if an individual has an underlying liver disorder, such as hepatitis B or C, or earlier damage from alcohol or other diseases. The only level of alcohol that is safe under those circumstances is zero.