In a bid to spread awareness about liver related diseases, World Liver Day is observed on April 19, every year. The liver is an important organ in our body’s digestive system. It is the second largest and the most complex organ in the body, with the exception of the brain. Whatever, we eat or drink, including medicine, passes through the liver. Simply put, we cannot survive without our liver.
Functions of Liver:
Basic functions of liver include –production and excretion of bile (bile helps in digestion or breakdown of fat), excretion (removal of wastes, toxins from our body) of substances like bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, drugs and metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Symptoms of liver disease:
Its functions can be easily affected if one does not take good care of it. Also, liver disease can be inherited (genetic). Liver disease doesn’t always cause noticeable signs and symptoms but over time, the conditions can lead to liver failure. If signs and symptoms of liver disease do occur, the may include – loss of appetite, dark urine colour, swelling in the legs and ankles, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and jaundice.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), liver diseases are tenth most common cause of death in India. Liver diseases can be caused by hepatitis A, B, C, alcohol and drugs. The consumption of contaminated food and water and drug abuse are the reasons behind viral hepatitis disease. “Hepato” means liver and “itis” means inflammation. Hence, Hepatitis means the inflammation of the liver.
Ways to keep liver healthy:
-Limit or quit alcohol
– Maintain your weight as obesity can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
— Eat foods that have lot of fibre such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, rice and cereals
— Avoid contact with the infected blood or any other body fluid as this can result in spreading the hepatitis virus.
— Avoid sharing razors, razor blades, toothbrushes, etc.