How to love your liver
Tucked away under your ribcage at the top of your stomach on the right you have an amazing organ called a liver. It processes toxins (including alcohol) from the blood, helps control cholesterol and blood clotting and aids digestion. But what if it goes wrong?
In the same way that the wrong kind of petrol can seriously damage your car, the cells of your liver are vulnerable to attack. Along with excess alcohol, virus infections and even being overweight can cause harm. So can an inherited condition called
Some common liver conditions
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Hepatitis is the medical term for inflammation of your liver. Most of us probably think immediately of viral hepatitis and the most common kind
Most people recover quickly and completely from hepatitis A. Hepatitis B and particularly C can cause chronic infection which increases the risk of cirrhosis of the liver, as well as liver cancer. There's no
If you did a survey of what people thought were the symptoms of liver disease, top of the list would almost certainly be yellow skin (and whites of the eyes). Jaundice happens when bilirubin - a yellow pigment made when red blood cells are broken down by the liver - isn't processed properly . But other symptoms include tiredness, aching or pain over your liver, weakness, weight loss, easy bruising and itching. You can also get a swollen tummy,
How to be kind to your liver
The great news is that unlike many other organs, your liver has a remarkable ability to recover even from quite advanced inflammation. And the same health lifestyle steps will help protect your liver from harm and help it to keep helping you.
Top of the list must be keeping alcohol intake down. Sticking to recommended alcohol limits - maximum 14 units a week, spread over several days,
But these days, keeping
If you're going abroad
You can also protect yourself against hepatitis caused by infection, especially if you're
For hepatitis B, you may need
As with all vaccines, it takes some time for your body's immunity to build up after your first injection. So don't forget to make an appointment with your practice nurse at least eight weeks before you travel, to
With thanks to 'My Weekly' magazine where this article was originally published.