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World Liver Day – April 19th 2021

Liver is the largest organ in the body which performs diverse functions in the process of digestion, glucose and fat metabolism, detoxification, protein synthesis etc. Even after a major insult and injury it can restart

Liver is the largest organ in the body which performs diverse functions in the process of digestion, glucose and fat metabolism, detoxification, protein synthesis etc. Even after a major insult and injury it can restart functioning normally, thanks to its unique regenerative capacity. Nevertheless, liver is affected by various diseases like fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis, cancer etc. The prime causes for liver injury being alcohol, hepatitis virus infections, fatty liver, diabetes mellitus, obesity, drugs & toxins etc.

Globally around 3 million deaths happen every year due to harmful use of alcohol. More than 200 diseases occur due to alcohol out of which liver disease is one of major one. After years of continuous alcohol consumption, liver disease passes through phases of fatty liver, hepatitis and ultimately into irreversible cirrhosis. People suffer with jaundice, abdominal swelling and other distressing symptoms etc. Alcohol anonymous and dead diction centres should be strengthened and made use of frequently for control of this problem.

People who don’t take alcohol also frequently find themselves having fatty liver. Study showed that around 20-30% are diagnosed with fatty liver in India. Diabetes mellitus, obesity, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating habits change the internal metabolism thereby promoting insulin resistance and thus cause fatty liver. Strict sugar control, weight reduction, healthy eating habits, avoid simple carbohydrates and junk food, regular physical activity etc. would help people combat this emerging problem of fatty liver.

Infections due to hepatitis virus cause jaundice, fatigue, fever, malaise, weight loss etc. Except those due to type B and C virus, rest of the infections (i.e., hepatitis A and E) are self-limiting. Hepatitis B and C viruses affected approximately 325 million people globally. They frequently cause chronic liver injury and if unrecognized and untreated, they can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer in certain cases. Testing even in asymptomatic patients, vaccination against hepatitis B virus and effective medications against hepatitis C virus help in combating this global problem.

Cancers either primary or secondary are recognized as deadly diseases with poor outcomes. Getting a tissue sample by biopsy test would confirm the diagnosis and appropriate treatment should be followed as guided by the specialist.

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