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Saturday, 14 September 2013 11:06

6 Risk Factors for Liver Disease

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liverRisk factors intentionally or unintentionally harming your liver health…

Liver is the largest and most vital organ of a digestive system of our body. It keeps the body healthy by performing many bodily functions. Liver functions can range from stimulation of digestive process and detoxification to acting as a reservoir of energy.

Oftentimes, liver problems remain silent for many years, and hence we neglect liver health too.  Research has shown that liver cells are susceptible to injury in many ways. In the long run, they can damage liver cells and lead to fibrosis and cirrhosis and ultimately liver failure.

Some of the risk factors that can damage a liver are outlined below.

Alcoholism

Drinking too much alcohol can cause inflammation and destruction of liver cells. Alcohol is also responsible for build-up of extra fat in liver cells; condition termed as fatty liver disease.

In heavy drinkers over the period of time alcohol lead to scarring of liver cells called as alcoholic cirrhosis. This is the replacement of soft healthy liver tissues with hard scar tissues. The condition is irreversible and lead to liver failure reported by American Liver Foundation.

Overweight

Obesity is associated with insulin resistance and oxidative stress. Both cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a common form of liver disease, is characterized by build-up of fat in liver cells but not related with alcohol intake.

Insulin resistance increases production of free fatty acid. So more fatty acid is delivered to the liver for degradation and less is released from it. This promotes accumulation of fat inside liver cells.

Secondly, obesity is also related to increase in oxidative stress which ultimately can damage liver cells and cause fibrosis.

NAFLD is becoming more common in countries where overweight prevalence is more according to review from Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine.

Type 2 diabetes

Nothing has to say about a type 2 diabetes. Complications of type 2 diabetes ranging from a vision problem to kidney damage are well known. Same holds true for liver also in a long run.

Type 2 diabetes is the silent offender who can damage a liver. Type 2 diabetes and overweight share common pathogenesis of insulin resistance and oxidative stress. Hence type 2 diabetes, likewise, overweight, become a major risk factor for incidence of liver diseases.

Viral infection

Viral hepatitis, a viral infection of liver, is the major cause of liver cancer and the significant reason for liver transplantation as documented on Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Consumption of contaminated food and water increase your susceptibility for hepatitis A virus infection. Hepatitis B virus gets transmitted when a person is exposed to infected body fluid like blood. Unprotected sex can be also a significant reason for this virus transmission. Hepatitis C is spread through infected blood.

Whatever the reason, all three viruses can replicate in liver and damage liver cells, which result in chronic infection and serious liver disease.

Exposure to toxins

Liver cells are highly susceptible to injury when exposed to certain chemicals called as ‘toxic hepatitis’. Cleaning solvents or carbon tetrachloride when consumed intentionally or exposed accidentally damage liver cells.

According to Canadian Liver foundation, liver play a vital role in chemical metabolism. Liver has an inbuilt capacity of processing all chemicals and eliminating them from a body via bile and urine. During this chemical handlings certain highly toxic bi-products are produced that lead to liver injury.

OTC medication

Painkillers, commonly used over-the-counter medicines, can turn out dangerous for liver health. Acetaminophen, an active ingredient of many OTC drugs, can cause severe liver damage noted by Food and Drug administration (FDA).

So it's important to note the content for any painkillers before consumption.

Fixes for prevention of liver disease are simpler. They can be lifestyle modification for control of overweight and diabetes or and cautious use of drugs. Paying close attention to your overall health keep a perfect watch on liver disease.

Read 5520 times Last modified on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 22:45