Liver damage: World Liver Day is observed on April 19 every year and with the theme for 2023 being- “Be Vigilant, Do Regular Liver Check-Up, Fatty Liver Can Affect Anyone”, there is an increased need to adapt a healthier lifestyle and not ignoring signs that could lead to alarming conditions.
Zee English spoke to Dr Ajay Kumar, Chairman-Pan Max & HOD – Institute For Digestive & Liver Diseases, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi about the warning signs of a damaged liver and remedies to be taken to prevent it.
Signs and Symptoms of A Damaged Liver
“The most common symptom of a damaged liver is no symptom at all. There could be subtle signs of loss of energy, appetite, fatigue, loss of muscle mass etc. It is only investigations that show up liver disease.
Once decompensated liver disease, the signs could be quite obvious like jaundice, fluid in the abdomen, blood vomiting, altered sensorium etc,” says Dr Ajay.
1. Fluid retention
4. Nausea and loss of appetite
5. Abdominal pain and swelling
Other common symptoms are:
– Shortness of breathing
– Ankle swelling
– Back pain
– Abdominal pain
– Loss of appetite
– Abdominal pain
– Yellowing of skin and white portion of eyes
– Darkening of urine
– Clay-colored stool
Causes of Sever Liver Damage
Dr Ajay explains that the common causes of severe and painful liver damage are as follows:
i) Infection: viruses, hepatotropic viruses like Hepatitis A, B, C and E, Dengue virus, Parasites like Falciparum malaria
iii) Drugs like drugs used to treat tuberculosis, epilepsy, certain antibiotics etc
iv) Drugs like anabolic steroids are used for muscle building by people who are regular at gyming.
Daily Habits That Can Contribute To A Damaged Liver
There are several unhealthy habits that people have in their daily lives that might increase their likelihood of liver damage. A person may not even be aware that they have liver impairment because it can happen gradually and without any symptoms. Yet, these unhealthy practices can seriously affect the liver over time. Since the body cannot operate properly without a functioning liver, this is a serious condition.
– Excessive Alcohol
– Not Drinking Enough Water
– Overuse of Medications
– Sleep Deprivation
– Eating Excessive Processed Foods
– Too Much Sugar in Diet
– Engaging in Unsafe Sex
– Being Overly Frustrated or Stressed
– Not Getting Enough Exercise
What Can You Do o Reverse Liver Damage
A healthy life style in form of exercise, and a balanced diet are all good habits to keep your liver healthy. Dr Ajay mentions, “Two cups of black coffee can help in keeping the liver healthy.” Damage is promoted by lack of physical activity, overconsumption of alcohol (binge drinking is as harmful as regular consumption of alcohol), and misuse of certain drugs. Anabolic steroids as found in some supplements used in the gym, can be deleterious.
How is Liver Disease Diagnosed?
To accurately diagnose and find the cause of liver disease, your provider will also recommend one or more tests. These may include:
– Blood tests
– Imaging tests
– Liver biopsy
Experts say, you should contact your healthcare provider if you experience- Changes in the colour of your urine or stool, jaundice or yellowing of your eyes, pain in the upper right side of your abdomen, or swelling in your arms or legs.
“A Healthy, balanced diet with high proteins and less saturated fats is key to a healthy liver,” concludes Dr Ajay Kumar.