Liver Disease: Yellowing of the Eyes, skin, mouth, Abdominal pains, or swellings are symptoms that are common in diseases of the liver. Other conditions that could give these manifestations are Severe Malaria, Sickle Cell Crisis, etc.
What is the liver?
The liver is an organ of the body that helps with cleaning harmful (toxic) things from the body. Just imagine the liver to be the broom, parker, mop, detergent of the house. Without it, dirty would kill you.
What Are The Functions Of The Liver?
The liver works like a factory & a cleaner. It does things like:
- Production of Hormones & Proteins: important for the body to work. In fact, if the liver fails at childhood, a man would not be a man, instead, he would grow as a woman.
- Storing of Food: The liver stores the food you eat as glucose, so you can have energy later.
- Removing harmful things: like waste products, drugs, and herbs. Without the liver, any drug you take would kill you instead of helping you. You need the liver (and kidney or lungs) to remove these drugs
The liver is a very important organ that we can not live without, but there are things we do that cause harm to our liver and give rise to LIVER DISEASE.
What Is LIVER DISEASE?
Liver Disease covers all the possible conditions that can cause the liver to stop working.
How do I know LIVER DISEASE?
A person with the liver disease would have signs like:
- Yellow eyes, skin, mouth- this is known as Jaundice.
- Abdominal pain, Swelling.
- Severe weight loss
- Feet swelling
A number of other conditions can also cause these signs, like Heart Failure, Kidney problems, Cancer, etc. but they would also come with other manifestations.
Example of LIVER DISEASES And Causes
- Hepatitis: Can be caused by Unprotected sex, Shared needles/sharps. Also eating contaminated food. Read more on Hepatitis here.
- Liver Cirrhosis: can be caused Long term alcohol consumption, Drug abuse, e.g: Paracetamol and herbal medications that do not have dosages.
- Fatty Liver Disease: can be caused by Obesity.
- Liver Tumors: like Liver cancer, Liver adenoma, Bile duct cancer. etc
What do I do If I Suspect Liver Disease?
If untreated, can lead to liver failure which is life-threatening. This is worse as the person would need a new liver, which is difficult to achieve in our region. Once you see any of these signs, take the person to the nearest hospital & see a doctor for tests, investigation & treatments.
Can I Prevent LIVER DISEASE?
Yes, these diseases of the liver are preventable. To do this, we have to avoid/reduce the risk factors by;
- Avoid or Drink alcohol in moderation
- Practice safe sex: No sex without condoms. This would prevent the transmission of Hepatitis, as well as HIV.
- Vaccination: This is available for Hepatitis. See where to get Hepatitis vaccination
- Stop drug abuse
- Stop sharing of sharp instruments: This is very important, especially for ladies who do manicures and pedicures, as well as guys who share clippers. Remember that HIV can also be transmitted through this means.
- Say no to “Herbal Drug Self Medication”
- Keep your food safe.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
No matter how rich you are, “Prevention is always better than treatment of liver disease”