Every 28th of July each year is marked the actual day for global hepatitis and we want to seize this very opportunity to explore some facts concerning this very challenging disease called HEPATITIS.

Did you know that the human liver is a special organ? It has some hundreds of critical jobs. It works very hard but gets little credit.  I hope you know that your liver is the second-largest organ in your body? If your liver stops working, toxins would accumulate, you wouldn’t digest your food properly and medications would never leave your body. Your liver represents your body’s primary filtration system, converting toxins into waste products, cleansing blood and metabolising nutrients and medications to provide the body with some of its most important proteins.

It is a fundamental part of your body’s overall regulation hence it’s paramount to keep your liver healthy by limiting overindulgence, physically and physiologically. Avoid frequent overconsumption of food and alcohol, maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen, and get screened regularly. If you are turning yellow with jaundice or feeling pain in your upper right abdomen, they could be signs that your liver is very sick. While the liver is responsible for cleaning toxins from the blood, overexposure can be harmful.

Read warning labels on chemicals you use around the house and wash fruits and vegetables before consumption to ensure you’re not digesting pesticides. Endeavour to buy clean fruits and greens. Just because a supplement is labeled as “natural” doesn’t mean it’s good for you as many herbs and supplements have been associated with liver damage. Taking more than one medicine or herb that acts on the liver may compound the issue. Tell your doctor about every medication and supplement you take, even occasional or over-the-counter remedies.

Obesity significantly increases your risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Fat in the liver can cause inflammation, which may lead to the development of fibrosis and cirrhosis.  Due to the rising epidemic of obesity, the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is rapidly increasing and is expected to overtake hepatitis C as the leading indication for liver transplant. Whether you or a family member has experienced liver disease, you may be more vulnerable to liver conditions. For example, hepatitis  B  or  C   are risk factors for liver cancer.

If a close relative ever had a genetic liver disease, then you should watch out for symptoms. If you or an immediate family member has had liver disease, you’ll need to avoid alcohol. Make a liver enzyme test part of your annual physical. For overindulgence of alcohol or food, less is always best when it comes to liver health. There are many preventive steps you can take to protect yourself against liver disease. Take note of the following:

MINIMISE ALCOHOL INTAKE: If you think only drunks get cirrhosis of the liver — you’re mistaken. Just 113 grammes a day of hard liquor for men (55 grammes for women) can begin to scar your liver. On a routine basis, men should not consume more than three drinks per day and women should not consume more than two drinks per day to prevent the development of alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol fatty liver which causes liver inflammation, eventual scarring and liver cancer, is a process that begins on as little as four drinks a day for men and two for women. Fatty liver disease means you have too much fat in your liver. In a healthy body, the liver helps to remove toxins and produces bile, the digestive protein.

Fatty liver disease damages the liver and prevents it from working as well as it should. By the time you show symptoms, your liver may be damaged beyond repair. But if you stop drinking, fatty liver stage may find their condition reversing.

AVOID WEIGHT GAIN: Maintain your Body Mass Index (BMI) in the normal range (18 to 25) by eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis to decrease your risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Exercise and eat right.   Fatty liver disease is the world’s fastest growing reason for needing a liver transplant. As with alcoholic fatty liver, it can be reversed at the “fatty” stage by cutting simple carbohydrates like bread and sugar and eating more fruits, vegetables and protein.

To avoid the risk of acquiring viral hepatitis, do not engage in behaviors such as illicit drug use or having unprotected sex with multiple partners. If you have the risk factors for liver disease, it’s important to go for screening, as chronic liver disease can be silent for years and go unrecognised.  Hepatitis B and C are transmitted by blood and other bodily fluids while hepatitis A is spread through contact with contaminated food or water.  If you do have liver damage, work with your physician, have the healthiest and safest plan for your personal needs.

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