Taking care of your liver may not have crossed your mind before. But, do you know almost 2 million people die from liver diseases every year around the world?
As surprising as this figure may seem to you, it does emphasize the need for looking after your liver. Most of us underestimate the importance of this crucial organ as we aren’t fully aware of the functions it performs. But, when liver damage occurs, it can turn your life upside down!
Treat your liver right with the following tips:
1. Monitor Your Alcohol Intake
It is not a mystery that excessive alcohol consumption harms your liver. The liver can process only a limited amount of alcohol in an hour. Overdrinking can damage your liver cells and lead to scarring. It is often recommended that men limit their alcohol intake to 2 drinks a day and women to 1 glass.
2. Check What You are Eating
Your eating habits play a major role in keeping you healthy. A diet that has high levels of fat and cholesterol can increase the risk of fatty liver disease. You should avoid:
- Refined carbs such as white bread and doughnuts
- Fried foods, dairy products, and red meat
- Processed foods
- Cereals, bread, whole grains
- Foods rich in fiber such as fruits and vegetables
- White meat, fish, nuts, and beans
3. Protect Yourself From Hepatitis A, B, and C
Hepatitis A, B, and C are viral diseases that can damage your liver. Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food and water, whereas Hepatitis B and C can be transmitted by sexual intercourse. You can also acquire Hepatitis B through contaminated blood and needles. To prevent these diseases, you can
- Get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B
- Practice safe sex to avoid Hepatitis B and C
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to keep Hepatitis A at bay.
4. Be Cautious about Medicines
Certain medical formulations, such as acetaminophen that is present in over 600 medicines can be harmful to your liver. Many other medicines can be damaging if they are not taken as recommended. Overconsumption of traditional medicine can also lead to inflammation and liver damage. It is always best to consult your doctor before taking any medicine.
5. Have an Active Lifestyle
Regular exercise can help in maintaining your liver health. It prevents obesity and decreases stress on the liver. Try to stick to an exercise routine that works for you.
6. Keep a Track of Your Body Weight
Obesity is a major risk factor for fatty liver disease. A BMI in the range of 18.5- 24.9 is considered to be healthy. Try to maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet. You can also talk to your hepatologist to set a healthy weight goal.
7. Minimizing Toxins
Toxins are present in household products, pesticides, and spray cans. These can damage your liver if you breathe or touch them too much. You can also get exposed to toxins on the job. For example, paraquat (herbicide) and polychlorinated biphenyls (industrial toxins) are some common chemicals that can lead to liver damage. To prevent exposure to toxins, you can practice the following steps:
- At home, try to use cleaning products safely. Read the instructions on the containers before use and do not mix chemicals. You should also mark the bottles that have hazardous chemicals.
- If you regularly come in contact with dust, radiation, and chemicals at work, you should wear all the personal protective equipment as instructed by your employer.
Avail Liver Transplantation Across the World
Sometimes, when we take our liver health for granted, we risk developing liver diseases. These can even lead to liver failure which can be treated only with a liver transplant. Following the above-mentioned tips can go a long way in keeping your liver happy and healthy. If you feel unsure about your liver health, get in touch with a skilled hepatologist.
Yes, excessive alcohol consumption is known to cause several liver diseases like alcoholic cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, and alcoholic hepatitis.
Infections from hepatitis viruses A, B, and C can lead to liver diseases. Thus, by getting vaccinated against these viruses, you can protect yourself from liver damage.
You can keep your liver healthy with foods rich in fiber such as fruits and vegetables, cereals, bread, whole grains, and beans. But, you should avoid processed and fried foods.
You should discuss the exercise routine with your healthcare provider. But, generally, 150 minutes of exercise in a week is recommended for staying fit and healthy.
Apart from alcohol, substances like acetaminophen, statins, and mushrooms can cause liver damage.