The liver is a vital organ; essential for being able to live. It is a phenomenal organ wherein even after cutting a major part of the liver, it can regenerate itself. It can bear a lot of damage before completely breaking down. 

The liver is found in the upper right part of the abdomen, and it performs a plethora of functions (more than five hundred) in the body. These functions range from producing proteins, bile, and even cholesterol- to storing up and using vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals and then helping in their transport to the right places, at the right time; all of which keep our bodies functioning normally. 

Everything we eat and drink may contain toxins and germs that need to be removed from the body, and the breakdown of various other substances including medicines, alcohol, and other naturally occurring byproducts of human metabolism takes place in the liver.

Many things can harm your liver health and the chief among them is your poor lifestyle and accompanying bad habits. Keeping your liver in good shape is necessary for maintaining health and if you wish to explore some simple yet effective and healthy tips for your liver, this article will have you covered. 

Get regular checkups and keep a lookout for any liver damage

Getting regular health check-ups is advised for anyone who is deemed to be a “heavy” drinker. Safe to moderate alcohol consumption is defined separately for men and women. Women can have up to one drink a day and men up to two drinks a day. Heavy alcohol consumption is defined as drinking greater than three drinks a day for women and more than 4 drinks a day for men. If the total alcohol consumption in a week is greater than 7 drinks for women or 14 drinks for men, then also it falls under the category of heavy drinking.  

Going by this metric; in case you do find yourself a heavy drinker and also if you have any family members who have dealt with or are dealing with liver-related issues, please take notice and get yourself tested as soon as you can, to better gauge the potential risk or extent of liver damage you have. The doctors will evaluate you and guide you on what needs to be done next based on your evaluation. Liver damage can also occur without consuming alcohol, so it is also important for certain groups of people to be on the lookout for liver damage. This includes but is not restricted to pregnant women, people who have human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), users of illegal drugs that are taken via injections, in case someone gets stuck by an infected needle if a person is on hemodialysis and those who have received abnormal liver test results or had/have liver disease, overweight and patient with long-standing diabetes. 

Practice safe sex, always 

Having unprotected sex with an infected individual is a known factor that increases the risk of people contracting certain kinds of viral hepatitis, which is a medical condition that directly causes liver inflammation. As is the case with most diseases, the hardest aspect of this disease is to detect it in its early stages. Delayed diagnosis leads to poorer outcome treatment. We all want to protect ourselves and others from potentially fatal conditions that do spread through sex, and using protection is the best way to do this. 

There are different types of hepatitis viruses, but hepatitis C, in particular, infects the liver directly and can cause significant damage over time. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C and avoiding coming into contact with blood that has been infected with the virus is crucial in preventing it. Hence, the use of infected needles is one of the ways to contract this disease.

A simple blood test can reveal if you have viral hepatitis. There are five main types of human hepatitis viruses – A, B, C, D, and E. Both hepatitis B and C can be transmitted through unprotected sex or getting intimate with multiple partners. 

Take your prescription medication correctly and look out for Acetaminophen

If you find yourself taking any prescribed medication for any existing health conditions or if you are taking any type of supplements, please ensure you know the correct dosage which should only come from a registered medical practitioner. Uncontrolled use of over-the-counter medications, especially over a prolonged period, can potentially cause long-term damage to various body organs, including the liver. Side effects like rashes and unexplained nausea are common signs and if you witness any of these after starting or taking any medication; talk to your doctor. 

Acetaminophen can be found in over 600 different medicines, and this includes many over-the-counter drugs that are taken by masses without prescription for most common colds and flu infections. Adults should never use more than 4,000 milligrams of this drug per day because more than that can harm the liver. If you follow your doctor's prescription diligently, then this possibility is likely avoided altogether.

Get vaccinated against hepatitis 

The good news for us is that it is possible to protect yourself against two major hepatitis-causing viruses including hepatitis A and B. So what are you waiting for, get yourself vaccinated at the earliest? 

Eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight

People who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of developing serious diseases. This includes liver-related disease as well. Extra body weight exerts greater pressure on all organs and puts them into overdrive and at risk of breaking down.

Being overweight or obese also increases the risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is the first step toward liver failure if left untended. Maintaining a healthy weight and diet will improve the efficiency of your liver and keep your overall health intact as well.

Remember that your liver is a robust organ that performs wonders for your body every day, but it needs a little care from your end as well. Follow these simple yet effective steps for a better tomorrow for your liver, and you.

Also Read: What is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?

with Dr. Ajitabh Srivastava


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