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World Liver Day 2021: Know how to keep your liver healthy

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Lucknow: Every year April 19 is observed as World Liver Day to spread awareness about liver-related conditions and diseases. The theme for this year is ‘Keep your liver healthy and disease-free.’

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“The liver is the second largest and the second most complex organ in the body, after the brain. It is responsible for performing crucial functions related to immunity, digestion, metabolism, storage of absorbed nutrients, and excretion. Keeping your liver in good shape is the key to preventing liver diseases,” said Dr. Amit Jain, MS MCh (GI Surgery).

He also expressed his concern over rising liver diseases in India. “Reports suggest that liver diseases are the 10th most common cause of death in India,” he said.

Liver diseases refer to any disorders of the liver that hamper its proper functioning. Viruses, genetic or lifestyle factors including overconsumption of alcohol, excessive smoking, unhealthy eating habits, obesity, etc., are known to cause damage to your liver, resulting in liver failure.

It is to be mentioned that your liver does not show any immediate signs and symptoms of deterioration unless it is severely damaged. However, classic symptoms of liver disease include nausea, vomiting, upper abdominal pain, and jaundice.

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To take good care of your liver, follow few tips that are mentioned below:

Healthy weight

Over weight or obesity can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), one of the fastest-growing forms of liver disease.

Opt for a balanced diet

Eat fiber, which you can obtain from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, rice, and cereals. Avoid high calorie-meals, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates – such as white bread, white rice and regular pasta – and sugars. Hydration is essential, so drink a lot of water.

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Protect yourself against Hepatitis B or C

Get vaccinated for Hepatitis B and C as it can be transmitted sexually or if there is a chance of blood-to-blood contact. Practice safe sex and avoid unnecessary sharing of toothbrushes, razors, needles and other personal care items – these can also transmit hepatitis B or C. If you are a carrier, consult your doctor for a screening program to detect problems early. If your parents are carrier and/or you are not sure, get a Hepatitis screen. Also, if you’re keen to get a tattoo or a piercing, take extra care to find an establishment that is clean and adheres to meticulous sterilisation practices.

Avoid toxins from chemicals, and additives

Toxins can be fatal as it can injure liver cells. Limit direct contact with toxins from cleaning and aerosol products, insecticides, chemicals, and additives. When you do use aerosols, make sure the room is ventilated, and wear a mask.

Limit alcohol intake

Alcohol can damage or destroy liver cells and scar your liver. Talk to your doctor about what amount of alcohol is right for you. Always drink alcohol only in moderation or try to quit it completely.

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Say no to smoking

Cigarette smoking has been linked with the development of liver cancer, as per recent studies. Smoking can also enhance the toxic effects that some medications such as paracetamol have on the liver.

Distant yourself from illicit drugs

Illicit drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine, crack, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, can also damage your liver. Prescription-type psychotherapeutics such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives should only be used as per doctor’s advice.

Always follow directions before taking any medication

Even prescribed medicines should be taken as instructed by physician, taking too much, the wrong type or by mixing medicines, your liver can be compromised.

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