Chronic Liver Disease - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Chronic liver disease, also known as cirrhosis, is a condition when healthy liver cells are replaced by scar tissues that eventually affect its functioning. Our liver performs many days to day functions, starting from protein synthesis to detoxification of toxic compounds, it performs all the activities. If it does not work well, toxins will accumulate in our bodies. That can also lead to confusion due to the building up of toxins in the brain. For our survival, we need to have a healthy liver. Moreover, what we eat, and how we live directly to leave an impact on it.



Symptoms 


Liver disease may not show noticeable symptoms at times. However, it may cause;


  • Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

  • Tendency to bruise easily

  • Abdominal pain and swelling

  • Swelling in the legs and ankles

  • Itchy skin

  • Dark urine color

  • Pale stool color



Causes


Cirrhosis occurs when anything damages your liver. It can occur due to various reasons. Some of them can be;



Drinking Less Water

Water helps in flushing toxins out of your body. If you do not drink enough water, you may become dehydrated, and your liver will not be able to function well. For efficient functioning of the liver, you must drink at least eight to ten glasses of water in a day.



Sugar

Excessive sugar intake not only makes you gain pounds, but it also damages your liver. A diet containing a high amount of sugars can cause an accumulation of fats over the liver, eventually causing fatty liver. If not taken care of at the right time, fatty liver can turn into cirrhosis.


According to experts, sugar has the same effects on your liver as alcohol. Moreover, it does not matter how much you weigh. If you have a healthy weight and are consuming excessive sugar, it can also be dangerous for your liver. Therefore, consume it in an adequate amount. Try to cut down sweetened beverages, pastries, ice creams, and chocolates in your diet.


Herbal Supplements 

One of the major drawbacks of herbal supplements is that you do not know much about them. Even if it contains a label of 100% natural, it can still cause damage. Some herbs like kava kava - used to ease menopause symptoms - damage your liver. When taken for a long time, it can lead to cirrhosis. Therefore, do not take supplements blindly. Always do your own research before starting any supplement and consult with a physician too.


Being Overweight 

When you are overweight or obese, fat starts to deposit in your liver, which can eventually cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It would gradually scar and damage your liver tissues, which affect its functioning. However, you can limit the damage by losing weight and doing a workout. It is never too late to incorporate positive changes in your lifestyle.


Sharing of Instruments

Sharing of instruments like needles, operation theatre instruments, and dental equipment can cause liver damage in the form of hepatitis B and hepatitis C. They are viral infections that attack your liver and can become fatal at times. Never ever share razors, toothbrushes, and syringes with anyone. When you visit a dentist, make sure that the instruments are autoclaved. 


If a dentist works with an instrument on a patient having hepatitis C and their blood accumulates in it and then uses the same instrument for you, there are fair chances that you may get infected. Hepatitis B and C spread can be stopped by maintaining hygiene. Dispose of syringes and razors properly so they do not hurt anyone.


Alcohol 

Long-term alcohol consumption is one of the major causes of liver damage. If you drink a large amount of it in a day, it can lead to fatty liver, then fibrosis, then cirrhosis, and eventually liver failure. Also, you may think that the quantity of wine you consume is not bad for your health. But this may not be the case. The amount of alcohol that can damage your liver varies from person to person. A particular quantity may not harm one person, while it may harm another. Therefore, limit the alcohol intake up to the lowest possible amount.


Complications 


Liver disease can lead to various complications like;


  • Portal hypertension 

  • Enlarged blood vessels

  • Ascites- fluid accumulation in your body 

  • Kidney failure

  • Severe bleeding

  • Easy bruising 

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Liver cancer


Conclusion 


Your liver is one of the most important organs. If it does not work well, you can not survive. Eating a clean and healthy diet and daily physical activity can help keep your liver healthy. Quit drinking alcohol and limit fat and sugar intake, as they are bad for your liver. Whichever medicine or supplement you take, always consult with a healthcare provider. Everything you consume has an impact on your liver as it metabolizes every little thing. 


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