Liver damage can affect your daily life. The problem can lead to the swelling in your legs and abdomen. The liver is an organ that can heal the damaged cells in your body. When damage occurs to the liver, it can result in problems in the body. The signs and symptoms of the damage to the liver can trigger severe effects. Several diseases can affect regular liver function. You need to have the right information to prevent the damage. Therefore, with adequate information, you can avoid the problem from affecting your life.
What Is Liver?
Before knowing about the diseases that can trigger liver damage, you need to understand the organ’s function. It is the organ that sits under your rib cage. You can locate the organ on the right side of the abdomen. The organ has the size of the footballs and has a complex structure. So, the organ is responsible to perform essential tasks to convert the food into energy. It also has a specialized filter system. It removes the impurities and toxins from the body. So, your body can clear the wastes like preservatives, drugs, and alcohol with the help of the organ. It can store the food as glycogen. The liver also stores vitamin (fat-soluble) like E and D in it. Therefore, you can summarize the function of the organ as:
- Bile production to facilitate the easy digestion of fats and other substances present in the food
- Storage of glycogen, the extra sugar or glucose. Converting the glycogen back to glucose for providing energy to the body during necessary circumstances.
- Produce factors that can aid in the clotting of blood.
- Facilitate the production of amino acids. Amino acids are required for the body as it is the building blocks to make proteins. So, it helps fight the different types of infections in the body.
- Process and store the iron required for the body. It helps in the red blood cell production.
- Fat transport is required for the functioning of the body. So, the liver manufactures cholesterol and other chemicals in it.
- When you feel sick, you take medication. The liver metabolizes the active ingredients present in the medication. So, it is absorbed by the body.
- Convert the waste products accumulated in the body into urea. So, urea is flushed out of the body through urination.
What Is Liver Damage?
Liver damage refers to the disturbance in the function of the organ. It can trigger illness in the body. The organ is highly significant to the human body. It is responsible for the critical functions that keep the balance in the body. But, injury or disease can lead to damage. It will result in the loss of liver functions. The different liver problems can lead to the failure of the organ to perform its function. The damage occurs when more than 75% of the live tissue gets adversely affected. So, it results in decreased liver function. Liver damage occurs due to the following issues:
- An inherited or genetic factor that results in the failure of the organ.
- Viruses affecting the function of the liver.
- Chronic alcohol use resulting in the damage to the organ.
- Obesity or excess weight resulting in liver damage.
- Scarring of the liver tissue over time, resulting in the life-threatening condition.
When damage to the liver occurs, it stops the bile production. The bile contains water, bile acids, and other chemicals. The bile is essential for the digestion process. It enters the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) like the food. So, it helps in the digestion of the food. The proper liver function keeps the body’s balance. But, the liver damage can result in the loss of cells. So, it may not meet the needs of the body.
Symptoms Of Liver Damage
The liver is like the body’s superhero. When it works properly, it fights infection, digests the food, and cleans the blood. But, the damage to the organ can show specific external signs. So, you need to monitor your body to detect the signs.
The skin and the white part of the eyes can turn yellow in color. It is the most common sign associated with damage to the organ. The improper working of the organ can result in the buildup of bilirubin. The yellowish substance can result in jaundice. It is due to the fact that the liver loses its ability to process bilirubin. So, it can change the color of the skin and eyes.
Colored Stool And Dark Urine
The liver problem can cause jaundice. It can change the color of the stool as well as urine. It can make the urine dark in color. You can also see pale, tar-colored, or bloody stool. It is a cause of concern as it indicates something wrong in your body.
You can experience itchy skin as a result of liver failure. It signifies the presence of something serious like critical organ failure. The whole body may itch as a result of the problem. So, your skin may look normal but has scratched area. The repeated scratched areas on the skin can cause you embarrassment.
Tendency To Bruise
The liver damage can make you more susceptible to bruising or bleeding. It is due to the fact that the liver stops production of proteins. The proteins are significant in enabling blood clotting. So, a properly functioning liver produces several factors that help in the clotting of the blood. But, the liver problems can result in the disappearing of the protein. The slowed or stopping of the protein produced by the damaged liver can lead to bruises.
Abdominal Pain And Swelling
The improper functioning of the liver can lead to water retention. So, it can result in the swelling in the abdomen. The water retention can also trigger abdominal pain.
Swelling In Legs And Ankles
The water retention can also happen in the legs as well as ankles. So, you can experience the swelling in the specified areas of the body.
Fatigue is one of the most common signs of liver damage. It can also impact the quality of your life. The changes in the liver function can affect the neurotransmission in the brain. So, it can result in extreme weakness or lethargy.
Liver problems can make you feel uneasy. It can trigger uneasiness, vomiting or nausea.
Loss Of Appetite
People affected by liver problems can find it difficult to have food. They do not feel hungry. So, the sudden loss of appetite or weight loss indicates something serious with health.
Causes Of Liver Disease
The liver problem occurs due to different causes. The main factors triggering the problem are:
Viruses or parasites can cause infection in the liver. It results in the inflammation of the organ. So, the liver function reduces. The problem can spread through blood, semen, close contact with an infected person, and/or through contaminated water. Therefore, it results in liver damage. The common types of viruses that trigger the infection are:
- Hepatitis A
- (B) Hepatitis
- Hepatitis C
Abnormal Immune System
The immune system can mistakenly attack the liver thinking it as a foreign object. The autoimmune liver problems can cause failure of the organ. Some examples of the disease that triggers the issue are:
The abnormal genes from the parents (one or both) can result in liver damage. It can result in the accumulation of various substances in the organ. So, the different types of liver diseases due to genetic factors include:
- Wilson’s disease
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Hyperoxaluria and oxalosis
Cancer And Other Abnormal Growths
The cancerous or non-cancerous growth in the liver can trigger liver damage. So, the different growth, triggering the problem includes:
- Bile duct cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Liver Adenoma
Some other problems can also result in liver failure.
- Accumulation of fat in the liver (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease)
- Chronic alcohol abuse
Complications Due To Liver Damage
The condition can have a severe complication. Therefore, you need to get treatment for liver damage as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may experience health issues. The acute damage to the liver can result in a life-threatening condition. So, it can cause the death of the affected person.
Diagnosis Of Liver Damage
It is important to get the problems of the liver diagnosed as soon as possible. So, it will help your doctor develop a treatment plan. It can prevent further complications to your health. Prompt medical action can prevent fatal damages. Therefore, seek medical help when you see the signs of liver damage. The doctor can confirm the problem with the following techniques:
Finding the extent and exact cause of liver damage can help you get proper treatment. Therefore, your doctor can perform a thorough physical examination. You need to discuss your medical history, the history of the disease, and the signs you experience. It will aid your doctor to understand the problem precisely. So, the doctor can suggest further diagnostic methods to confirm the problem.
Your doctor can suggest a group of blood tests. The liver function test can reveal the problems with the organ. It also detects the exact disease or genetic condition that results in the failure of the organ. The following tests can reveal the problem:
AST and ALT
The aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) test can detect liver damage. Your doctor recommends both the test to diagnose the problems with the liver. It detects transaminase chemicals. In most cases, chemicals release with the inflammation of the liver cells.
GGT and Alkaline Phosphatase
The gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) test suggested by the doctor measures the levels of GGT enzymes. The enzymes are responsible for the chemical reaction associated with the bile ducts. So, measuring it can shed light on the issues of the bile secretion.
The test measures the bilirubin count in your blood. It is the orange-yellow pigment occurring normally when the red blood cells break down. So, it detects health problems like anemia, jaundice, and liver diseases.
Protein and Albumin Tests
The abnormal levels of protein and albumin levels in the body indicate the presence of liver problems. Therefore, your doctor can conduct the tests to get conclusive results.
The sophisticated imaging tests can provide the visual of the liver. So, the latest imaging techniques like ultrasound, CT scans, and MRI can provide comprehensive images of the organ. So, the doctor can detect liver damage with ease.
The doctor can remove a sample of the affected tissue. It is sent to the lab for evaluation. Therefore, the tissue from the liver will reveal the problems with the organ. For the biopsy, the doctor uses long to needle to extract the sample. It is assessed in the laboratory to get complete details about the liver problem.
Treatment For Liver Damage
The diagnosis of the exact problem can help develop an ideal treatment plan. Depending on the severity of the liver damage, your doctor can suggest a solution.
The less severe liver problem needs only lifestyle changes to overcome the issue. So, you can follow the pointers to maintain the health of your liver:
- Avoid using alcohol
- Lose excess weight
- Monitor liver function
The more severe problem needs medications. The medication can help treat the issue resulting in liver damage.
At times, you may need invasive surgery to correct the problems affecting the liver. Your doctor decides if the invasive procedure can eliminate the issue troubling your liver.
Acute liver failure can lead to fatal complication. It can result in your death. Therefore, you can overcome the irreversible problem only with a liver transplant.
Preventing Liver Damage
You can implement some steps in your everyday life to prevent liver damage. You can take the preventive measure to ensure the good health of the organ. It will make sure your liver performs its functions properly. So, you can avoid the damage to the organ and the subsequent adverse effects. The preventive measures include:
Moderation While Drinking Alcohol
Consuming alcohol can affect your liver function. Therefore, it is ideal to limit its consumption. Healthy adults need to restrict their alcohol intake to two drinks (men) per day. While women can only have one drink. Heavy drinking can put the liver at risk. So, it is better women do not exceed their drinks limit to more than eight and men restrict themselves to 15 drinks a week. Anything more than the prescribed levels can affect liver functioning.
Avoid Risky Drugs
Recreational drugs can adversely affect your health. It can alter your brain functions and put your vital organs at risk. Therefore, stay away from illicit drug use. The intravenous use of the drugs can put you at risk of deadly diseases. Never share the needles with others or inject drugs into your system.
Practice safe sex. Use condoms while getting intimate with a partner. People with an active sex life need to ensure they do not get STD or other infections. Infections can affect liver health.
You like to have tattoos or piercing to make a style statement. When to decide to get a tattoo or piercing, choose a professional place. The tattoo artist has the proficiency to perform the task well. A skilled tattoo artist gives importance to cleanliness and your safety. So, they use clean needles and keep your skin safe from infection. If you fail to observe such strict cleanliness, then it can lead to jaundice or other illness that affects liver health. Therefore, give importance to your safety.
Getting vaccinated to prevent the infections from hepatitis can reduce the risk of a damaged liver. If you have a history of any form of hepatitis virus, then you need to get the vaccination. It will protect you from getting the infection again. So, talk to your doctor about the necessity of getting hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccination.
Wise Use Of Medications
Taking medications as advised by the doctor can prevent liver damage. You need to take only the recommended dose of the prescription or non-prescription medications. Never mix your medications with alcohol. It can have adverse effects on your health. You need to talk to your doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Some medications can have an adverse reaction to your vital organs. So, always check with a medical professional first.
Avoid Contact With Body Fluids
Blood or other bodily fluids may contain hepatitis virus. It can affect your liver adversely. Therefore, avoid coming into contact. You need to prevent an accidental needle stick. Maintain caution while cleaning the body fluids or blood.
Maintain Caution With Aerosol Sprays
The toxic chemical can affect liver health. Your liver cannot filter the toxic insecticides or fungicides. So, protect yourself by wearing a mask. It is important you take the precautions while using chemicals or other toxic elements. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid any dangers to health. Ensure your room is properly ventilated.
Protect The Skin
Protect your skin from coming in contact with the harmful chemicals or insecticides. Therefore, wear long sleeves, gloves, mask, and hat. It will give you protection from getting adversely affected by the toxic elements.
Maintain Healthy Weight
Excess weight can lead to fat deposits in the liver. It can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. So, the problem can affect the health of your liver. Shedding the excess weight can improve your overall health. So, maintain a healthy weight to reduce the complications arising due to obesity.
With some preventive measures, you can avoid liver damage. But, if you get affected by the liver problems, then seek immediate medical assistance. It will help prevent further complications. So, never ignore the problem.View Article Sources