Liver disease can be inherited (genetic) or caused by a variety of factors that damage the liver, such as viruses and alcohol use. Obesity is also associated with liver damage.
The liver is an organ about the size of a football that sits just under your rib cage on the right side of your abdomen. The liver is essential for digesting food and ridding your body of toxic substances.
Over time, damage to the liver results in scarring (cirrhosis), which can lead to liver failure, a life-threatening condition.
The functioning of the liver is a very complex one; it is also one of the most important vital organs in the body. And along with other organs such as the heart which pumps blood and the kidneys which regulate and eliminate metabolic toxins, the liver is a very complex organic biochemical laboratory-regulating glucose levels, the detoxification of toxins and many other vital biochemical actions within the human body.
All the substances that can be used by the body are synthesized inside this vital organ by the transformation of essential nutrients absorbed from the foods we digest-it has other important functions, such as the breakdown of alcohol in the body. Some of the essential substances manufactured in the liver include an array of enzymes all of which are important in various metabolic processes within the body, substances that are involved in the blood-clotting mechanisms, and immune system substances such as the vitamins and proteins involved in the proper functioning of the immune system.
Moreover, as has been mentioned, the liver is a very important organ for detoxification and is responsible for the detoxification and breakdown of a large number of harmful metabolic by-products, all types of hormones and all poisons and toxins, after processing in the liver; these are eliminated as waste through other organs such as the gall-bladder and the kidneys.
The presence of liver disease can be inferred by the appearance of some typical symptoms such as the production of very pale and greasy stools, jaundice is always a result of liver dysfunction, in addition physical discomfort or pain just below the tight rib cage also suggests liver disease or the presence of disorders.
Liver problems are also in addition, almost always accompanied by some type of stomach or digestive complain, these symptoms manifest themselves in the form of sudden appetite loss, the appearance of problems like nausea, abdominal bloating or vomiting of bitter tasting bile suddenly. The effects of excess bile in the bloodstream can sometimes cause the skin all over the body to itch terribly.
The physical symptoms induced by a fatty and sluggishly performing liver are very mild in general and the digestive symptoms often go unrecognized by the affected individual.
Moreover the development of a either a liver or a gall-bladder disease is suggested when a person has a difficulty in digesting fatty foods or fried items. The detoxification process in the liver may not be happening quickly enough if the person has hormonal balance problems signaled by events such as PMS and morning sickness during the term of pregnancy-some very severe complications can arise if the detoxification process in the liver falters.
Liver cirrhosis which is one of the serious conditions in the liver may not have many obvious symptoms-which are very unfortunate for the vast majority of patients as this complication has very serious implications for the patients unlucky enough to be affected by it.
Due to the absence of symptoms, the condition may pass unnoticed before until it’s becomes very severe or its causes a fatality. Under most circumstances and situations if the liver is given time to recuperate, it has the incredible capacity to recover and heal itself and this rejuvenating property is a special characteristic of the liver. Thus even when the liver is severely damaged, it will produce only moderate symptoms and it will continue to function adequately at half its capacity-maintaining all essential functions and metabolic processes.
A lot of toxins from the environment and a lot of toxic byproducts overload the average liver these days, as food habits and the foods used have changed. The liver is burdened with virtually all the various junk foods, many of the pesticides found in food, the artificial hormones and medications we consume today create-in the modern age, the liver may well be the hardest working organ in the human body.
Artificial substances which are very hard on the digestive tract are found in most of the packaged and processed foods that we consume. The liver can be affected by the things that a person consumes, thus a lot of deposition of fatty substances results due to the repeated consumption of alcohol in alcoholics, and the same results are seen in those eating a lot of food which is rich in the saturated fats and the simple sugars while being poor in fiber; these foods impair the optimal performance of the liver and cause fatty tissue deposits-which further hinders normal liver functioning.
The liver manufactures bile and an inadequate bile flow to the gall-bladder (which stores bile) due to problems in the gall bladder itself can seriously affect the liver. A complicated set of symptoms so typical of liver disease can also result during hepatitis, which is an inflammation in the liver brought on by an infection or due to the ingestion of some types of poisonous substances and metabolic substances.
Dietary habits and foods consumed also play a large role in the formation of gallstones within the body. The liver and the gall bladder are also very severely affected by the presence of stress and persistent feelings of anger. The liver is also taxed by poor eating habits, including consuming food too hastily and burdening the stomach through overeating-the timing of daily meals is important as irregular eating timings will also add to the burden faced by the liver.
The liver is also affected if the person weights more than a few extra pounds over what is ideal-thus obese individuals often have very poorly functioning livers. People from all kinds of work and all age groups can be affected by liver disease; in general, liver problems are not the sole preserve of a particular age group.
Signs and symptoms of liver disease include:
- Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Itchy skin
- Dark urine color
- Pale stool color, or bloody or tar-colored stool
- Chronic fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Tendency to bruise easily