Your liver is the filtration system of your body, cleaning 1,450 milliliters of blood every minute. It takes care of chemicals and is the main organ in charge of metabolizing drugs.
The liver also regulates blood volume (1) and secretes bile into the intestine. This substance contains liver waste and helps digest fats. Crazy enough, your liver is the only organ in your body that can regenerate itself, as long as it doesn’t contain too much scar tissue. Unfortunately, liver disease causes severe damage over time, severely compromising your health and your liver’s regeneration abilities.
What is Liver Disease?
According to the Mayo Clinic: “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 a cause of liver damage. Over time, damage to the liver results in scarring (cirrhosis), which can lead to liver failure, a life-threatening condition.” (2)
- Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (also known as 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
If you suspect that you might be suffering from liver disease, it’s worth speaking to your doctor as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis.
Fatty Liver Disease Causes
Fatty liver disease is one of the most common forms of liver disease. It can be caused either by excess alcohol consumption (alcoholic fatty liver disease) or excess sugar consumption (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).
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As WedMd writes: “People with fatty liver disease are often insulin resistant. Their bodies make insulin, but it doesn’t work well. Glucose builds up in the blood, and the liver turns that extra sugar into fat.” (4)
The buildup of this fat affects your liver’s ability to handle everyday tasks, such as breaking down red blood cells and filtering your blood.
Risk factors for the condition include (5):
- High cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides in the blood
- Metabolic syndrome
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Underactive pituitary gland (hypopituitarism)
For the most past, you can reverse fatty liver disease through diet and lifestyle changes.
According to Medline Plus, dietary changes for liver disease may involve (6):
- Cutting down the amount of protein you eat. This will help limit the buildup of toxic waste products.
- Increasing your intake of carbohydrates to be in proportion to the amount of protein you eat.
- Taking vitamins and medicines prescribed by your healthcare provider for low blood count, nerve problems, or nutritional problems caused by liver disease.
- Limiting your salt intake. Salt in the diet may worsen fluid buildup and swelling in the liver.