The liver is one of the most vital body organs situated in the abdomen on the upper right side. Liver disease is a broad term referring to conditions that will damage or cause inflammation of the liver thence impacting negatively on functioning of the liver. The size of the liver in an adult could be as large as a football and weighing more than two pounds. The range of body functions that the liver performs include manufacturing essential components of the blood from food nutrients, production of enzymes and proteins, storage of vitamins and minerals, maintaining and correcting hormonal imbalances, regulation of clotting of the blood, detoxification of harmful substances that get their way into the body physiological processes, bile production, bacteria removal from blood and most importantly, manufacture of elements that helps strengthen the body immune system.
Because of the wide variety of functions that the liver performs, there exists a wide variety of conditions that lead to malfunctioning of the liver since any factor that negatively impacts on the proper execution of liver functions affect the liver. Liver diseases are categorized both by causation agents and effects on the proper functioning of the liver. Causes range from genetic defects that will at one time cause the liver to build up and deposit toxic substance like heavy metals e.g. ferrum to injuries, infections, exposure to drugs and toxic substances and in some instances autoimmune processes.
The effects that liver diseases have on the liver are numerous. They include obstruction of liver tubes, abnormalities of clotting, inflammation, tissue damage, scarring and in advanced stages liver failure which results in death unless liver transplantation is performed. While most liver diseases are causal, inheritance is a possibility as in the case of hemochromatosis. The liver, luckily, is such a resistant body organ that can easily replace damaged cells and will need to lose considerable percentage of cells to be in no position to meet its functions. Precisely, more than 75 percent of the live tissues need to be affected to decrease its functions.
Causes of Liver Disease
Aforementioned, there are so many causes of liver diseases owing to the many number of functions that it performs. To analyze the various causes of liver diseases, an analysis of the various types is required. Below are the various causes of liver diseases by types:
- Hepatitis. This is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver due to viral infections, autoimmunity, alcohol consumption, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), hereditary factors and presence of liver toxins.
- Cirrhosis. This is a type of fibrosis in which fibrous tissues are formed instead of the normal functioning liver cells that continue to die due to a variety of reasons such as over consumption of alcohol, viral hepatitis, toxins in the liver that are not eliminated and other carcinogenic substances. Chronic liver failure is as a result of cirrhosis. Closely associated to liver cirrhosis is the alcoholic liver disease. Alcoholic liver disease is a general term for all liver problems associated with overconsumption of alcohol leading to fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis and the fatty liver disease. Alcohol cirrhosis is an example of drug induced liver problems.
- Acute liver failure stemming from a variety of liver diseases, toxins and drugs.
- Autoimmune associated liver disease which results from autoimmune hepatitis, primary sclerosing choilangitis (PSC) and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). The condition manifests by production of inappropriate immune responses in the liver by itself and sometimes even development of antibodies against self tissues by the liver.
- Budd-Chiari syndrome. This liver disease is characterized by jaundice, abdominal pain, enlarged liver and ascites. The physiological abnormality behind this conditiuon is the formation of blood clots that greatly impede flow of blood from the liver.
- Genetic mutations that can lead to a damage of the liver include Wilson’s disease, hemochromatosis, and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
- Infections can also cause a variety of liver diseases leading do obstruction of bile ducts and liver damage. Common infections are parasitic and viral.
- Cancer originating within the liver is also a common cause of liver disease and failure. The common ones hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) which is a type of primary liver tumor. Risk increases with cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis.
Symptoms of liver disease
There are very many problems that can result due to malfunctioning of the liver. These symptoms are physical and other varieties that are related to the blood sugar problems, digestive problems, metabolic problems, abnormal fat absorption and immune disorders. This is because the liver is involved in the functioning of these body physiological processes. These symptoms are analyzed below:
- The improper or over absorption of fats leads to symptoms such as nausea, abdominal bloating, vomiting attacks, constipation, intolerance to alcohol, intolerance to fatty acids, gall stones, hemorrhoids, deficiency of fat soluble vitamins and most commonly indigestion.
- Hypoglycaemia and other blood sugar problems
- Disorders associated with the nervous system such as mood swings, depression, nausea, recurrent headaches and migraines, overheating of the torso, body and other body parts, foggy brain accompanied by poor concentration, anger and easy irritability.
- Clogged arteries leading to strokes, high blood pressure and heart attacks.
- Elevated level of triglycerides, reduced cholesterol HDL, elevated Cholestrol LDL. Thse combination of problems is called Hypercholesterolemia.
- Abnormalities with the amount of fats available in the blood stream which could be too high or too low. Fat could also build up in the body organs like the skin lipomas and a load of other fatty tumors.
- Excessive weight gain leads to obesity which is complicated by inability to lose the weight, pot belly, fatty liver, liver roll and sluggish metabolism.
Liver Disease Home Remedies
Liver diseases often develop gradually and symptoms are often delayed. The problem comes in early diagnosis of liver disease. As a general medical precaution, when any would be patient experiences unexplained weakness, fatigue and weight loss a medical evaluation should be prompted. Yellowing of the skin or jaundice is a strong indicator of hepatic problems. We have assembled a variety of home remedies that can help with Liver Disease. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself! Here are some of the home remedies that you can try.
- Hydrate– For example, hepatitis A requires hydration of the body too help the immune system fight and resolve the infections leading to hepatitis.
- Low Sodium and Water Pills– Low sodium and water pills are usually consumed to minimize water retentions. These drugs are referred to as diuretics.
- Chamomile and valerian herbs- These two herbs best known for their sedative and antispasmodic effects, contain both carminative volatile oils and bitter principles, and may be useful in liver and gall bladder formulas. The chamomile preparations generally available in tea bags do not yield the full medicinal properties of this herb. It is very easy to prepare chamomile. First, Take a pint or quart canning jar and fill it about two-thirds with loose chamomile flowers. Then after that, fill the jar with boiling water and immediately put the lid on. Let it cool to room temperature. Try it and experience its medical effects.
- Dandelion plant- Normally, the leaves of this are used to extract its juice. The leaves can be picked, washed, and mixed in with salads. According to specialists, Dandelion is very useful for the health of the liver and related organs and glands. You can find this herbal plant tinctures or other forms of its extracts at any local health food store near you.
- Milk Thistle Seed Extract- This herbal plant is very beneficial to the liver regeneration. It protects the liver from toxins like alcohol which is the main cause of liver cirrhosis. It simply prevents harmful toxins from destroying the liver and therefore the liver actually has time to regenerate as well as reduce liver inflammation. Apart from that, this herbal remedy is considered a hepatoprotective, due to its ability to protect your liver cells, or hepatocytes, from damage. Silymarin is one of the most important photochemical in milk thistle. However, before using it, it is advisable to first see and consult a doctor in order to know if it is necessary to use it depending will your liver condition.
Diet for Liver Disease
- The don’ts
A person living with liver problems should:
- Decrease the amount of sodium consumed. Excess sodium causes water retention in your body. The foods high in sodium content to be avoided include table salt, soups, soy, packaged snacks, canned vegetables and sausages.
- Avoid alcoholic drinks
- Drink fewer amounts of liquids if it results into swelling.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods daily to help nourish your liver and keep your weight at healthy levels
- It is crucial to determine and to eat the right amount of proteins. A dietitian comes in handy here. the main protein healthy foods to consider include meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, peanut butter, one-half of a cup of tofu, cottage cheese and others
- Most people with liver diseases have a problem with fat digestion. If you are affected, then it is necessary that you eat less fat.
- Liver malfunction has been known to cause blood sugar levels to be too low or too high. It is by eating the right amounts of healthy carbohydrates that one suffering from liver disease will control blood sugar levels.
Prevention of Liver Disease
- Consumption of alcohol in moderation is a sure way to reduce the risk associated with liver diseases significantly.
- Liver diseases are transferrable. The risk can significantly be reduced by minimizing exposure to the body fluids of an affected person.
- Hepatitis A and B are vaccinated against at a young age.
- The fatty liver disease is very much preventable. A healthy lifestyle, well maintained weight, avoiding excess alcohol consumption and routine exercise will guarantee a person of a life free from liver diseases.
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