Have you ever wondered if your liver is healthy or not? If it’s full of toxins or working well enough to perform its functions. If you have not thought about it before, then this is for you.
What is the Liver?
The liver is the largest solid organ in the human body. it is of two different types of gland. It is a secretory gland because it has a specialized structure that is designed to allow it make and secrete bile into the bile ducts. It is also an endocrine gland, because it makes and secretes chemicals directly into the blood that have effects on other organs in the body. The liver is a digestive organ that produces bile. Bile is a fluid that aids in digestion and absorption of fats as well as carries waste products into the intestine. The fun fact about the liver is that it is your body’s largest solid organ.
What does the liver do?
Elimination of harmful substances
It eliminates by metabolizing or secreting the potentially harmful biochemical products produced by the body, such as bilirubin from the breakdown of old red blood cells and ammonia from the breakdown of proteins.
It detoxifies by clearing the blood of drugs and other poisonous substances such as alcohol and environmental toxins.
Conversion of sugar
Conversion of excess glucose into glycogen for storage (glycogen can later be converted back to glucose for energy) and to balance and make glucose as needed.
Production of bile, which helps carry away waste and break down fats in the small intestine during digestion. Bile acids aids in the intestinal absorption of fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Because the liver is an expandable organ, large quantities of blood can be stored in its blood vessels. Thus, the liver is capable of acting as a valuable blood reservoir in times of excess blood volume and capable of supplying extra blood in times of diminished blood volume.
The liver plays several roles in lipid metabolism: it performs cholesterol synthesis, lipogenesis and the production of triglycerides and a bulk of the body’s lipoproteins are synthesized in the liver.
When taking these factors into consideration, it is easy to see how important the liver is to a person’s health. Then, just imagine if it is not being taken care off or if we keep bombarding it with a lot of poisonous substances.
What diseases can develop in the liver?
There are so many diseases that can affect the liver and its functions. Some have successful treatments while others do not. Examples of the most common conditions that affect the liver include:
Autoimmune disorder causes the body’s immune system to attack itself and destroy healthy liver tissue. Autoimmune hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis and other liver damage.
It refers to scarring that results from liver diseases and other causes of liver damage, such as alcohol use disorder. Cystic fibrosis and syphilis may also lead to liver damage and eventually, cirrhosis.
Liver cancer first develops in the liver. If cancer starts elsewhere in the body but spreads to the liver, it’s called secondary liver cancer. The most common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma. It tends to develop as several small spots of cancer in your liver, though it can also start as a single tumor. Complications of other liver diseases, especially those that aren’t treated, may contribute to the development of liver cancer.
Hepatitis is a viral infection of the liver. It causes inflammation and damage, making it difficult for your liver to function as it should.
All types of hepatitis are contagious but you can reduce your risk by getting vaccinated for types A and B or taking other preventive steps, including practicing safe sex and not sharing needles.
There are five types of hepatitis:
Hepatitis A is typically spread through contact with contaminated food or water. Symptoms may clear up without treatment, but recovery can take a few weeks.
Hepatitis B can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). It is spread through bodily fluids, such as blood and semen. While hepatitis B is treatable, there is no cure for it. Early treatment is key to avoiding complications, so it is best to get regular screenings if you are at risk.
Hepatitis C can also be acute or chronic. It is often spread through contact with blood from someone with hepatitis C. While it often does not cause symptoms in its early stages, it can lead to permanent liver damage in its later stages.
Hepatitis D is a serious form of hepatitis that only develops in people with hepatitis B, it can’t be contracted on its own. It can also be either acute or chronic.
Hepatitis E is usually caused by drinking contaminated water. Generally, it clears up on its own within a few weeks without any lasting complications.
How To Keep Your Liver Healthy
Some lifestyle changes that can help you have a healthy liver includes;
- Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B
- Practice safe sex with a condom and avoid multiple sex partners.
- Don’t share needles or personal care items (razors, toothbrushes, etc.)
- Exercise regularly.
- Talk to your doctor about any medications you’re taking as they may affect your liver.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you consume because it takes a lot for your liver to breakdown the toxins from alcohol.
- Maintain a healthy diet with fiber and fatty fishes.
If you are not doing any of these, you need to start doing things differently. Keeping your liver healthy should be one of your priorities.
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Disclaimer: Please note that this information should not take the place of your doctor’s advice.