Liver is one of the most versatile organs of our body and should not be taken for granted. Liver failure does not give you any second chance. Liver diseases vary from the mild ones to the incurable chronic liver cirrhosis. Anything that damages the liver puts you in the risk of developing liver diseases. Liver damage over time can result in swollen, hard, and scarred liver.
Most of the chronic liver diseases have no prescribed treatment. Liver diseases like cryptogenic hepatitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and α1-antitrypsin deficiency triggered liver damage are dangerous. Other liver diseases like biliary cirrhosis do not have curable treatments but only delay the progression of the damage.
Some of the causes of liver damage are listed below:
- Viruses (Hepatitis viruses)
- Alcohol consumption
- Drugs (side effects of certain medications)
- High exposure levels to industrial volatile chemicals like solvents, paints, paint thinners, etc.
- Keep your weight in check: Obesity triggers fatty liver and ultimately cirrhosis. Low-fat diet should be preferred to keep your liver healthy and functioning. Infiltration of fat cells into the liver scars the organ and messes with its normal functioning.
- Limit the alcohol consumption: Heavy intake of alcohol is sure to fatally damage your liver beyond repair. Alcohol causes swelling and liver irritation. If you have any liver disease, then alcohol will accelerate its further damage and put you at high risk of developing cirrhosis.
- Vaccinations: Vaccines are available to prevent the viral liver diseases like Hepatitis A and B. Ensure that you have completed the course of all the vaccinations to avoid the viral liver diseases, which can be prevented by taking the appropriate prophylactic measure.
- Be careful while taking medications: Common drugs including acetaminophen have damaging liver side effects. Regular intake of drugs like Ibuprofen, Aspirin may also affect your liver adversely. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) drugs or pain killers should be avoided as much as possible. If you are already suffering from some kind of liver disease, it is wise to be cautious of certain vitamins like Vitamin A and minerals like Iron. Herbal medicines, which are hepatotoxic should also be avoided (gentian, asafetida, etc.).
- Personal hygiene: Personal hygiene is important for the prevention of Hepatitis. Frequent washing of hands, safe sexual intercourse, not sharing needles, safe water and food intake are some of the important preventive measures for Hepatitis infection. Contaminated food and water should be completely avoided, especially while travelling. Also, avoid sharing personal items with an already infected patient since the Hepatitis virus spreads by person to person contact.
Following these healthy tips on a regular basis will help you prevent Hepatitis and other liver diseases.