The Fight against Liver Disease: The Beginning of a New Era
The liver is among the most essential organs in the body. In a healthy adult, it is the second-largest organ, weighing around 1.5 kilograms. It performs a multitude of functions, making it our body's most sophisticated organ. Among its functions are the production of proteins, vitamins, bile juice, clotting factors, and other substances, as well as the digestion of unwanted toxins that enter our bodies through our gastrointestinal tract. A healthy liver is essential for living a long and healthy life.
Common Liver Ailments
Any disorder that affects your liver is referred to as a liver ailment. The following are the most typical liver diseases:
Hepatitis is a condition in which the liver becomes inflamed. It's called viral hepatitis when the inflammation is caused by a virus. Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E are examples of distinct forms of hepatitis. Although most forms of viral hepatitis are communicable, you may lower your risk by being vaccinated against types A and B
Fatty Liver Disease: Fatty liver disease is caused by fat accumulation in the liver. Fatty liver disease is divided into two categories.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) –The exact cause of this condition is still unknown. However, obesity, cholesterol, and gastric bypass surgeries are known to increase the chances of getting this disorder.
Autoimmune conditions: Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body. Autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis are three common autoimmune conditions that can damage the liver.
The liver can also be affected by several hereditary disorders that you inherit from either of your parents. Hemochromatosis, Wilson's disease, and Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency are all genetic liver illnesses.
Drug-induced liver disease: Certain drugs and supplements are known to have harmful effects on the liver.
Primary liver cancer: Cancer that starts in the liver. However, secondary liver cancer occurs when cancer begins elsewhere in the body and spreads to the liver. The most common liver cancer that occurs is hepatocellular cancer. It usually manifests as a series of tiny cancerous patches in your liver. However, it can sometimes begin as a single tumour.
Cirrhosis: Cirrhosis is the scarring or fibrous thickening of the liver tissue caused by illnesses and other sources of liver injury, such as alcoholism. When your liver is damaged, it may heal, but this typically leads to the formation of scar tissue. When scar tissue forms on your liver, it becomes harder for it to function properly. If left untreated, most chronic liver disorders result in irreversible liver damage, a condition known as cirrhosis.
Chronic liver failure occurs when a large portion of your liver is damaged and unable to function normally. Chronic liver failure develops slowly over a period of time. Acute liver failure, on the other hand, occurs unexpectedly, usually as a result of intoxication or poisoning.
Common signs and symptoms of Liver disease
The signs and symptoms of liver disease are not always clearly evident. However, some of the common signs and symptoms observed in liver disease have been listed in the given table below
Early signs and symptoms
Delayed signs and symptoms
o Loss of appetite
o Swelling of feet
o Easy fatiguability
o Abdominal distension
o Weight loss
o Bleeding in the digestive tract.
Tips and facts for a healthy liver for a healthy lifestyle
Some common measures advised by the doctors to keep your liver healthy are:
Consume a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains helps maintain a healthy liver. Avoid eating junk and high-sugar foods
Boost physical exercise
Reduce or quit alcohol consumption.
Avoid smoking and drug use
keep a healthy weight
Get a regular check done with your consulting physician that includes blood tests
Modern Medicine: Management of Liver Disease
Science has advanced to the point that new and improved methods with cutting-edge technology integrated into modern medicine have evolved the diagnosis and treatment of liver diseases. Molecular diagnostics for hepatitis B and C viruses, such as RT-PCR, have helped clinicians make treatment decisions. We may now use non-invasive technologies like fibro scan, liver elastography, and MRI to assess the amount of fat and inflammation in the liver. Doctors previously relied on liver biopsy for this information, which is a highly invasive procedure. With the advancement in technology, we are moving from open surgeries to minimally invasive AI-enabled robotic surgeries.
Hepatitis B and C may now be readily managed because of the availability of highly effective antiviral therapies. In addition to developing new drugs for the fatty liver, new therapies are being developed to prevent its progression into cirrhosis. Newer radiographic and endoscopic techniques have been developed for the successful treatment of cirrhosis and liver cancer complications. Patients with well-developed liver disease can benefit from a liver transplant if the disease has progressed to an advanced stage.