How to prevent liver diseases

The liver is one of the most important and most complex organs in the body. There is no cure for the liver once it has become diseased other than getting a liver transplant in extremely severe cases. Therefore it is very important to know how to prevent liver disease, for people to protect themselves from this devastating and potentially fatal disease.

The liver has many functions in the human body. It is responsible for producing and secreting many of the digestive enzymes including bile. It is also responsible for neutralizing and eliminating the body of toxins that occur when foods, chemicals, and medications are broken down by the body for use. The liver also produces several clotting factors and proteins needed by the blood. The liver functions by producing cholesterol for the body. It also stores certain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients such as glucose that the body uses for metabolism and regeneration.

So what causes liver disease? Certain viruses and diseases can affect the liver. Viral hepatitis can damage the liver. People who have diabetes and those who are overweight put additional strain on their livers to function and may experience liver damage or disease due to this. The presence of gallstones and pancreatitis can affect the liver as well.

The liver is responsible for breaking down all medications and alcohol that is taken into the body. Due to this anyone who is an alcoholic or drinks alcohol heavily on a regular basis is at risk for contracting liver disease. There are many medications that can cause damage to the liver and anyone taking these medications needs to be monitored for any sign of liver damage by a medical professional.

Anyone who is addicted to street drugs or abuses them is also at high risk of contracting liver disease. The liver has to do so much work in the body that additional strains of illegal substances can damage the liver in a short amount of time if these substances are used on a regular basis.

Since liver disease is not curable, it is a good idea to make sure that everyone is doing all that they can to prevent the causes of this disease. Hepatitis is spread through contaminated food and water or due to contact with a person who has the disease. To keep chances of contracting this disease to a minimum, practice good hand washing after using the bathroom. Do not eat or drink after any other person has used a utensil. If traveling in areas not known, it is best to only eat cooked foods and to only drink bottled water. Avoid drinking alcohol except in small amounts. Avoid taking any street drugs or illegal drugs that might affect the liver. If a person already has damage to the liver, alcohol and drugs should be avoided completely.

People who have diabetes should work very hard to keep their blood sugar levels within normal limits. They should avoid eating foods that are high in fats and sugars as this puts extra strain on the liver and pancreas to process these foods. They should also work with their physician to find a diet and exercise program to keep them in the best physical condition possible.

Those who are overweight should work with a dietician or medical personnel in order to work out a diet and exercise program to rid their body of the additional weight. This will take stress and strain off the liver and allow their body to function in a more efficient manner.

Anyone who takes medication that can cause problems with the liver should be tested through laboratory values to assess for any problems. If lab values show any problems, medications should be stopped or changed to another medication that can have less effect on liver function.

Last updated on May 28th, 2009 and filed under How-to Guide. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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