In a single word, the liver is VITAL! The liver weighs about 3 pounds, is shaped like a football that’s got a flat, and is located on your right side under your rib cage. The liver is the first line of defense against chemicals and toxins we ingest every day and it’s #TheSecondLargestOrganInYourBody. A person can’t survive without a functioning liver.
- Filters blood coming from the digestive tract
- Filters toxins out of the bloodstream
- Digests and processes carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, & minerals
- Recycles red blood cells
- Helps the blood to clot
- Stores energy for future use
The liver is highly susceptible to:
- Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, and pain in the right upper abdomen. Liver enzymes may be elevated but liver function tests are often normal. Many heavy drinkers have fatty liver disease. Alcoholic fatty liver disease may be reversed if drinking of alcohol is stopped.
- Alcoholic Hepatitis: Liver swelling due to chronic alcoholism.
- Cirrhosis: Scarring of the liver caused mostly by chronic alcoholism, Hepatitis B & C , bile duct disease or iron overload resulting in liver failure.
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Occurs as a result of fat metabolism problems in the liver – symptoms are high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol. #NAFLD is a risk for people who are overweight or obese or who have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides. Rapid weight loss and poor eating habits also may lead to NAFLD.
- Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (#NASH): The more severe form of NAFLD where people (more commonly women than men) between the ages of 40 and 60 who are overweight or obese, or who have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides, end up developing cirrhosis as a result of the swelling and scarring of the liver that occurs in response.
- Viral Hepatitis: Strains A and E are caused by eating food contaminated with the virus, while B,C, and D are caused by contact with blood, body fluids or unprotected sexual contact with an infected person.
NAFLD affects up to 25% of people in the United States. Let that statistic sink in.
The great news about the liver is that it is one of the few organs in the body that has the ability to heal with something as simple as changing a behavior or two.
- Hepatitis B has a vaccination available – GET IT!
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Control sodium intake (no more than 2,000-2,400 milligrams of salt daily). Excess sodium can cause abdominal water retention/inflammation and can overwork the liver
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Avoid #UnhealthyFats like potato chips, large amounts of animal proteins, fast food, sugary drinks
- Add Vitamins D, E and healthy fats like those found in fish, olive oil, nuts, and avocados
- Exercise regularly
- Limit alcohol intake
- Only take medicines that you need and follow dosing recommendations
- Drink coffee! Coffee has been shown to keep liver enzymes low. Coffee drinkers with hepatitis C had a better response to treatment, a lower risk of liver cancer, and slower progression to cirrhosis. #HMMM
Take care of your liver, you can’t live without it. #ThingsThatMakeMeGoHmmm
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