Wednesday, July 10, 2013

8 Ways to Lighten the Load on your Liver

Last week, medical researchers announced that they created the basis for a functioning human liver from liver buds created in a lab. This was a tremendous scientific breakthroughHowever, duplicating these results in humans may take many years. In the interim, it’s important to try to keep your liver healthy by reducing or eliminating the many assaults on your liver that can cause illness and disease. Here are some ways to do that:
  1. Alcohol:  Alcohol damages the liver and drinking alcohol in excess, can cause Cirrhosis of the Liver, which can be deadly. Most medical experts say that women should limit their alcohol intake to no more than one per day; men, no more than two per day (and better yet, don’t drink alcohol at all). 
  2. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: An unhealthy diet can be one of the culprits in the development of, “Fatty Liver.” Maintain a normal weight for your height and frame and consume a healthy diet by limiting saturated fats and junk foods. Try to maintain normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A diet that consists of whole grains, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and omega 3 fatty acids, can help to improve your overall health and help keep your liver happier too.
  3. Viral Hepatitis: The three main types of Viral Hepatitis are, A, B and C. The good news is that there are vaccines to help prevent Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.
  4. You can become infected with Hepatitis A by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or by having close contact with someone that has it. To read more about Hepatitis A and the Hepatitis A Vaccine, click here.
  5. Hepatitis B infections are spread by having contact with infected blood or body fluids, dirty (contaminated) needles and other objects used by someone who has the disease. To read about Hepatitis B Vaccine, click here.
  6. The bad news: There is no cure and no vaccine for Hepatitis C. You can get Hepatitis C from exposure to infected blood, body fluids, contaminated needles and other objects used by someone with the disease.  
  7. Know your medicines and their side effects: Some medications can damage your liver even when taken as directed. Other times, a combination of medications can be more toxic to the liver by producing a synergistic effect (the two combined are more damaging then just one).
  8. Other liver diseases can be inherited or genetic such as (but not limited to): Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and Wilson Disease. Knowing your family history can be helpful when it comes to your health. Having an awareness of family tendencies towards certain diseases can help place them on your radar, so you can be on the lookout for them.
Some chronic conditions listed above and other diseases can raise your risk for developing Liver Cancer. For more on Liver Cancer, click here. Labs can be performed on a routine basis to monitor the health of your liver. Talk to your healthcare provider about which labs and/or other diagnostic tests are right for you to help you monitor the health of your liver. 

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