The liver, which holds about 1,00 grams in weight and 15 cm in length, is responsible for the synthesis of various proteins, coagulation factors, cholesterol, triglycerides and bile including glycogenesis. It is also effective for detoxifications of drugs, alcohol and control of infections. Positioned in the upper right part of the abdomen separated from the chest cavity by the diaphragm, it is one of the most essential organs in the body.
Nevertheless, the graph of liver disease in India has grown over the decade and the dynamics have changed drastically, says Dr (Prof) Gourdas Choudhuri, executive director, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatobiliary Sciences, Fortis Memorial Research Institute.
“Earlier liver diseases were equivalents with Hepatitis B and C only, but today we see a lot of problems of liver failure, fatty liver, and every year about 10 lakh people with new liver disease are diagnosed in our country,” he says.
On World Liver Day, which is commemorated every year on April 19 to create awareness and understand the significance of the liver, he lists a few liver diseases and also gives tips on how to take care of the organ:
- Hepatitis A, B or C
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Alcoholic fatty liver
- Fatty liver
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
You must attend a doctor in case you have the following symptoms:
- Unexplained abdominal pain and swelling which is constant in nature.
- Itchy and red skin around the stomach. Regular red patches around the stomach and skin are the primary evidence of something being wrong inside.
- Dark urine is added an early sign of liver disease. No matter how hydrated you are, if your urine is dark in colour you must visit a doctor.
- Loss of hunger.
- Blood in stool, or pale or tar-coloured stool.
- Swelling in legs and ankles.
- Nausea or vomiting.
To stop liver diseases you must keep your lifestyle and weight in check, he suggests. Protection is the best cure for liver diseases.
“Protect yourself from hepatitis infected people and alcohol. Vaccination is another important part to evade liver disease although there is no vaccination for all liver diseases but, there are for Hepatitis A & B. Sharing of drugs and needles are also the major reason of liver disease, avoid it at any cost. Unprotected sex, tattoo and piercing from same needles or infected needles with same drugs have the highest risk of liver infection,” Dr (Prof) Gourdas Choudhuri adds.
Tips for liver care:
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle and have a well-balanced diet.
- Eat foods from all the food groups: grains, proteins, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and fats. Include green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, apple and walnut in your diet.
- Eat foods that have a lot of fibre such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread, rice and cereals such as quinoa, millet and buckwheat.
- Assure safe blood transfusions to avoid contracting hepatitis A, B, C.
- Keep personal hygiene and be sure to wash hands after using the washroom.
- Avoid tap water when travelling.
- Say no to alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
- Exercise regularly.
Theme of 2019 Liver Day: Love Your Liver