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Ask the Experts
Learn ways on how to prevent liver diseases
Prevention of liver disease is the key to fight against any liver disease. Unlike the other organs in the body, the liver grows and regenerates while healing. If the liver is too damaged, it not only loses its ability to regenerate but it may also stop working. With the help of prevention, proper care allows us to catch the complications of liver disease during the earliest stages. This helps in ensuring that one gets the best quality of life.
Tips on Keeping Liver Healthy by Liver Transplant Institute
It is very important to understand liver prevention is important. The way is to different diseases and their progression. Some of the diseases are:
- Inflammation: Inflammation is the body’s natural response to any kind of infection or injury. It is the first sign of liver disease. When one starts noticing symptoms of the same, they should get themselves tested.
- Fibrosis: If the liver remains inflamed for a long time, its tissue becomes thick and fibrous. This condition is known as fibrosis. Fibrosis makes it difficult for the liver to do its job. If one takes proper care and treatment, the condition can be reversed.
- Cirrhosis: This is a chronic liver disease. Cirrhosis happens when fibrosis becomes severe and the liver tissue transforms into scar tissue. Cirrhosis can increase complications of liver disease and lead to liver cancer.
- Liver Cancer: When cancer forms in the liver tissue, it can cause cancer. Liver cancer can develop at any stage of liver disease. In some cases of liver cancer, the patient may need a transplant.
- Liver Failure: Liver Failure is the most advanced stage of liver cancer. It occurs when the liver can no longer do its job. The only way one can survive liver failure is through a transplant.
Some liver diseases are congenital in nature. They can’t be prevented as they are present from birth. The only way out is to treat the symptoms. However, some diseases result from a viral infection, drug abuse or diet choices. Here are some ways to prevent liver disease:
An unhealthy diet causes fat accumulation in the liver. This can lead to serious liver damage. This fat accumulation is known as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. It is most likely to affect people who are overweight. Weight loss, regular exercise, and low fat carbohydrate-controlled diet is recommended.
Good hygiene helps prevent many diseases like hepatitis A. The diseases which are caused due to contact with infected feces can be prevented by washing hands after using the washroom, before working with food and after changing a baby’s diaper.
Vaccines are best for passive prevention. A preventive active vaccine is the best preventive mechanism for those traveling to different countries with a prevalence of diseases such as hepatitis A.
The most common cause of liver failure is an overdose of paracetamol as it is available easily over the counter. It is important to take only the recommended dosages and with the consultation of the doctor. Along with this, medicine and alcohol should never be mixed.
Heavy drinking over a long period of time can cause inflammation in the liver. It is left untreated, it can lead to scarring and then liver cirrhosis. Illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine can also cause severe liver injury and should be avoided.
Toxins are said to injure liver cells. One should limit direct contact with aerosol products, insecticides, chemicals, and additives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hepatitis C infection is extremely contagious. The most common route of infection is sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia. HCV is a blood-borne virus, and contact with an infected person's blood can pass along the disease. Less common ways the virus can be transmitted include sexual contact or sharing personal hygiene items such as razors with an infected person.
Most people (up to 80%) infected with the Hepatitis C virus do not have any symptoms in the beginning. When symptoms do occur, they usually happen within 6 to 7 weeks after exposure to the virus. But symptoms can start any time from 2 weeks post-infection up to 6 months.
Early symptoms may include:
Hepatitis C infection kills more people annually than HIV/AIDS. The reason is that HCV often does not have any symptoms until the disease progresses to the point where treatment can no longer help.
The best way to prevent infection with HCV is to avoid contact with an infected person's blood, do not share needles, and avoid high-risk sexual behaviors (anal sex, multiple partners). If you do engage in high-risk behavior or think you may have been exposed to Hepatitis C, talk to your doctor and get tested.
The decision to undergo treatment resides completely with you and your family. Many cancers, when caught early, are highly treatable, allowing patients to live years and even decades beyond their initial diagnosis. Patients with advanced cancer may be eligible for enrollment in a clinical trial (study) that offers investigational new treatment not available to most patients. A decision about whether or not to have treatment should be made after discussions with your family, your doctor, and after carefully weighing all the options available to you.