World Liver Day is observed on April 19 every year. In India, this is the 10th most common cause of death and 24 out of every 100,000 Indians die of liver disease

Liver is the second largest internal and a vital organ of human body. It plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy digestive system. Unhealthy liver function leads to several complications and may affect other vital organs of the body. According to a WHO study, in India liver related ailments are the 10th most common cause of death and for every one lakh of population, 24 die of liver disease.

 Liver complications are caused due to unhealthy lifestyle and can be inherited or genetic. High intake of alcoholic drinks, high cholesterol foods also cause liver diseases.

Speaking on the occasion of World Liver Day on April 19 every year, Dr. Ramesh Ardhanari, Medical Director, Meenakshi Mission Hospital, Madurai said, “Liver is a vital organ that performs multiple critical functions, which helps in keeping our body pure and clean from toxins and harmful substances. Therefore, it is very important to take care of this vital organ. Liver disease can affect any age, but fatty liver is common in the elderly age group and alcohol liver disease is common in the young and middle-aged adults. We regularly provide awareness about liver diseases with information and methods to eradicate it especially amongst the younger generation. Recent developments in the diagnosis and treatment has helped to cure many patients.”

Dr. N Mohan, Sr. Consultant-Surgery & Gastroenterology, Meenakshi Mission Hospital, Madurai said, “Remaining vigilant and getting regular health check-ups can help in the early detection of liver complications. We would not experience any signs or symptoms until the liver gets damaged. At this stage, the possible symptoms are the loss of appetite and weight loss. Some can even be affected with jaundice. It is advised to exercise regularly, keep a watch on what you eat, keep yourself fit, avoid alcohol and get tested for the presence of chronic viral hepatitis and vaccinate against hepatitis B. This could help to keep our liver healthy”.

The common liver diseases are alcoholic liver disease, chronic viral hepatitis due to Hepatitis B and C virus and fatty liver. The alcoholic liver disease can be completely cured in early stages of the progression and can be stopped even in the advanced stage of liver disease by alcohol abstinence.

 Awareness about modes of spread of Hepatitis B and C virus (Sex, blood transfusion, use of infected needles in drug users and mother to child during pregnancy), vaccination for Hepatitis B, active surveillance in susceptible population and early initiation of treatment could probably eliminate the viral hepatitis-related liver disease.

 Symptoms of Liver diseases:

Some common symptoms of liver diseases are:

 Jaundice with yellowish appearance of skin and eyes

  • Swelling and pain in the abdomen
  • Swollen legs
  • Itchy skin
  • Tendency to bruise easily
  • Dark yellowish urine
  • Pale, stool
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite / Unexplained Weight Loss

Diagnosis of Liver Diseases:


Various diagnostic tests are used for liver diseases. Screening Test for detecting the liver diseases is Liver Function Tests.

Prevention:


Liver diseases can be prevented by the following ways:

Vaccination:


There are Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines for protecting the body against these viral infections

Lifestyle changes:


Avoiding alcohol, maintaining healthy and a balanced diet, taking only prescribed medicines.

Preventive health checkup: 

As a routine, you should go for a Master health checkup regularly. Early detection can help in the appropriate treatment as well as complete cure.