The liver is an important organ in the body which removes toxins, fights infections, stores vitamins and separates bile. There are many lifestyle choices which can affect our liver. How we choose to eat, drink and live our daily lives can influence the health of our liver, as can the medications we take and the quantity of water we drink. This article will look at how we can protect our liver and examine the main indicators of liver problems.
People who take medication over a prolonged amount of time can experience problems with their liver. Another way to damage the liver is to not drink enough water. Water is vital for healthy liver function and dehydration means the liver has to work harder. The liver is crucial for a healthy body because it removes the dangerous toxins that build up in the bloodstream and cleanses the blood along with a number of other functions.
There are many different causes of liver disease and problems with this organ arise due to a number of factors. The most common cause of liver problems is excessive alcohol consumption. Other main causes are eating bad foods and certain illnesses which can aggravate the liver. The liver can also be attacked by the body’s own immune system. Here is a list of the 18 most common signs of liver problems:
18 causes of liver problems
- Taking too much of any medication
- Taking certain medications for long periods of time
- Regularly drinking more than 5 alcoholic beverages a day
- A family history of hepatic diseases
- Taking medication for the heart or diabetes
- Poor digestion, abdominal pain or constipation, especially after eating greasy foods
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Bad breath or white spots on the tongue
- Changes in mood, depression, and poor memory
- Fever, skin infections, and asthma
- High blood pressure
- Bloating or fluid retention
- An unstable blood sugar level
- Gallbladder diseases and gallstones
- Excessive body temperature
- A low tolerance to medications such as antibiotics
Symptoms of liver problems
There are various symptoms which can indicate liver problems. Here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for which could indicate problems with your liver:
- Jaundice – skin and eyes change to a yellowish colour
- Pain and abdominal swelling
- Sensitive skin (irritation, itching and/or inflammation)
- Loss of appetite, nausea and/or chronic fatigue
If you have any of these symptoms then it is important that you visit a doctor straight away.
You run a greater risk of developing liver disease if you suffer from diabetes or consume large quantities of alcohol. Other risk factors include working around chemicals in labs that deal with blood, viruses, or bacteria, obesity and having tattoos (due to the risk posed by unsterilized needles.)
Avoiding liver problems
To avoid liver problems, you should restrict intake of alcohol, soft drinks, seasoned foods, sausage and fried foods as these foods could aggravate the liver and cause more problems.
In order to avoid liver problems it is important to listen to your own body. Respect your body and this gives it the best chance of functioning well throughout your life. For example, you should eat healthy food when you are hungry, but do not eat when you are full. Provide nutrients through drinking natural juices, eating a piece of fruit, or consuming a glass of water. If you force yourself to eat when you are not hungry, this overworks your liver and will potentially make you ill.
The importance of diet
Drinking enough fluids is vital for a healthy liver. You should consume 8 to 12 glasses of water every day. Water helps the liver to detoxify the body and cleanses the kidneys. Avoid eating refined sugar as the liver converts this sugar into fat and cholesterol. Artificial sweeteners are also bad for the body as they are full of chemicals that the liver has to break down. The body does need some sugar but this can be obtained from fresh fruit. If you need to sweeten your food or drink, you should use stevia, a natural sweetener from plants.
One more tip to maintain a healthy liver is to try to eat organic food wherever possible. Non-organic fruit and vegetables are normally loaded with pesticides and insecticides which the liver has to deal with, so an organic diet is much purer and protects the liver.