The liver is a particularly large organ that's located on the right portion of the belly. The weight of the liver is typically around three pounds, which makes it the heaviest organ in the body. Your liver is directly protected by your rib cage, which means that you're unable to feel it. The liver works with nearby organs like the pancreas and gallbladder to absorb, digest, and process the food that you eat. Keeping your liver healthy is essential if you want to make sure that your overall health is well-maintained.
Main Functions of the Liver
While the main function of the liver is to absorb, digest, and process the food that you consume, this organ is also responsible for filtering the blood that's sent to it by the digestive tract. Once filtered, the blood will then be sent throughout the remainder of the body. Any chemicals in the blood will also be detoxified. When this occurs, your liver will secrete a certain amount of bile that's sent back to the intestines. This bile is essential for digestion and helps significantly in the breaking down of fats.
Any medicines that you take will also be broken down once they reach the liver, which allows the medicine to provide more benefits to your body. When the liver is working as intended, it will produce certain proteins that help with blood clotting after an injury or cut, which ensures that the healing process is straightforward. Some of the additional functions that occur in the liver include the clearing of harmful bilirubin, fighting infections, and storing iron. All of the functions of the liver are important to your overall health, which is why you need to do what you can to keep your liver healthy.
How to Keep Your Liver Healthy
If you want to keep your liver healthy and avoid the many health concerns that can affect the organ, there are numerous preventive measures that you can take. For one, it's important that you don't drink too much alcohol since heavy drinking is the main cause of many conditions that affect the liver. If you're otherwise a healthy adult, you should only consume one drink per day if you're a woman or two drinks per day if you're a man. A higher rate of alcohol consumption will almost certainly start to damage your liver.
You should also get vaccinated as soon as possible with the vaccines for hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. Make sure that you always use medications properly. Since the liver is responsible for metabolizing medications, higher doses can create issues with this process and cause damage to the liver. The same is true if you attempt to take medications and alcohol at the same time. A few additional preventive measures that you can take to keep your liver healthy include:
Maintaining a proper weight that coordinates with your height
Protecting your skin from toxic chemicals and pesticides
Only using aerosols in ventilated rooms
With these measures in mind, you should be able to keep most health conditions of the liver from developing. Schedule an appointment immediately if you believe that your liver has been damaged in some way.
Common Health Problems That Affect the Liver
There is a myriad of health problems that can adversely affect the liver, some of which are more harmful than others. Among the more common health complications of the liver is hepatitis, which includes hepatitis A, B, and C. These viruses cause the liver to become inflamed, which can lead to the liver becoming damaged and not functioning as well as it should. If your liver has been damaged over a lengthy period of time by heavy alcohol consumption or a similar issue, you may develop cirrhosis, which is an issue that causes permanent scarring in the liver. The presence of this scarring will make it difficult for the liver to function effectively.
If ever you develop cirrhosis of the liver, you could also experience a health condition known as ascites. This condition occurs when the liver starts to leak fluid directly into the belly. Over time, liver failure may result from any of the conditions that you've been affected by. The most common reasons for liver failure include genetic diseases, infection, and high alcohol consumption. Some additional health problems that can affect the liver include gallstones, liver cancer, and hemochromatosis. If you believe that you're suffering from any of these health concerns, it's essential that you obtain treatment immediately if you want to keep the symptoms that you're going through from worsening.