After my last weekend shenanigans, I have been mulling about overindulgence. It is so easy to go overboard with things, and even though momentarily it feels fabulous, it often does more harm than good. And these days there are all sorts of overindulgences – food, drinks, drugs, even emotions, and not to forget social media and gadgets. Have you ever paused to think about what effects does it have on our life? Well, I am not going to comment on the metaphorical effect but the physical aspect. There is one body organ in particular that takes the most brunt of our such binging – poor liver.
Now the easier question is what is our liver doing? In our body it is detoxifying our blood, converting ammonia into urea, segregating waste, nutrients and so on. It even regulates blood clotting. It also creates bile for breaking and absorbing fats. It also stores extra sugar as glycogen to manage your blood sugar levels and releases it when blood sugar goes down. Now there are about 100’s of functions that our singular liver is performing and these few lines don’t do justice to the work it performs. But our modern-day lifestyle our indulgences have sent our liver into working overtime and exposed it to many dangers like :
- Inflammation of the liver due to high consumption of alcohol aka Alcoholic Hepatitis
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease wherein too much fat is accumulated in your liver and it interferes with its functioning
- Scarring of liver and failure (cirrhosis)
- Infections affecting liver: commonly hepatitis b, c and a. And others like toxoplasmosis
So let me ask you one of the more difficult questions, how is your liver doing? Not in most cases, our liver suffers silently, as in there aren’t any defined symptoms that will honk danger about the precarious situation of your cleansing gland. But you can pay attention to the below symptoms, they can alert you:
- Weight loss, and/or loss of appetite
- Abdomen pain, nausea, vomiting
- Easy bruising or bleeding of the skin
- Mental confusion (caused by too much ammonia)
When in doubt always consult an expert and you can go for a routine LFT (liver function test). Now all this is fine and well but the truth is our liver is one of our stronger allies. If you cooperate with it, it can bounce back from many things, it will do a great job of healing itself. Although some diseases aren’t curable like hepatitis b, cirrhosis, cancer, albeit treatable. But here’s what you can do to optimize your liver health:
- Limit alcohol, and steer clear of harmful non-medical steroids
- Maintain a healthy weight as obesity raises the risk of getting non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Practice caution when getting and transfers or transfusion done if you are using any needles for body tattoo or piercing make sure to use fresh ones, even in hospitals or labs for any check-ups.
- Avoid unsafe sex with multiple partners as that could marginally raise your risk of acquiring hepatitis b
- Eat healthy foods, and there is no scientifically proven detox plan, but milk thistle and turmeric have shown positive effects on liver health. So make them a part of your diet including other fiber-rich foods.
- Take vaccinations for hepatitis A and B.
- Take only prescribed medicines as some medications can harm the liver.
All in all, it’s not difficult to keep your liver healthy, as long as you apply the rule of moderation, and aspire for a healthy lifestyle, you are good to go.