The liver is the largest organ inside your body. It is located just under your ribs against the right side of your stomach and it works really hard to protect your health.

The liver helps fight infections. It cleans your blood by getting rid of your body’s natural waste products and other harmful substances, such as alcohol and drugs. The liver also transforms the food that you eat into energy and nutrients your body can use.

The liver is a strong organ, but certain things like alcohol, drugs, viruses, and excess weight can damage it. You may not even realize when your liver is struggling, because liver disease usually has no symptoms until the problem becomes severe. Although liver disease often has no symptoms, warning signs can include a swollen abdomen, nausea, itching, or jaundice (having a yellow tint to the skin and the whites of the eyes).

Some liver problems are inherited from your parents, some are caused by viruses (certain kinds of hepatitis), and some are related to your behavior. Certain liver diseases go away on their own. Others can last a lifetime and cause serious illness.

Research studies are focusing on an increasingly common type of liver disorder, known as fatty liver disease. What is fatty liver? A normal liver is dark brown and uniform. A fatty liver, by contrast, is enlarged and streaked with yellow fat. If the condition persists it will lead to fibrosis, or even cirrhosis.

Another potentially dangerous type of liver disease can be caused by taking certain drugs or supplements. This especially can be a problem for people who are taking several different medications. Taking too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the most common cause of sudden liver failure. It’s particularly dangerous if you mix alcohol with acetaminophen or certain other drugs

Keep your liver healthy, and it will protect you for a lifetime. So here are some of our advices:

  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet and exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit alcohol use.
  • Learn how the medicines you take might affect your liver. Take medications as directed.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about all the medicines you are taking.
  • Avoid direct contact with toxins from insecticides, cleaning products, and other chemicals.
  • Don’t smoke.

References:

http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/mar2014/feature1

http://drhoffman.com/article/21-ways-to-save-your-liver/

http://www.liver.ca/liver-health/how-liver-works.aspx

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