The liver is a large, reddish-brown organ which is located below the diaphragm and in the upper right portion of the abdomen.
The liver carries out a large number of vital functions, such as:
- metabolism of fats and carbohydrates;
- manufacture of essential proteins;
- breaking down both alcohol and medications;
- storage of chemicals and vitamins which the body needs as building blocks;
- removal of toxins from the blood.
In fact, it is estimated that this organ carries out up to 500 different functions in the body.
Liver disease is any disturbance of liver function which causes illness. The chronic liver disease is the tenth leading cause of death in the US.
There are many types of liver diseases, including:
- inherited diseases, like – Wilson disease and hemochromatosis;
- liver cancer – an estimated 80% of primary liver cancers are caused by infection with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus;
- cirrhosis – it can cause loss of appetite, weakness, yellowing of the skin (jaundice), easy bruising, fatigue, and itching; cirrhosis also causes the liver to harden and shrink;
- diseases caused by viruses, like – hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Hepatitis can have non-infectious causes too, like – drugs, allergic reactions, heavy drinking, or obesity.
Factors which may increase your risk of liver disease include:
- heavy alcohol use – when you consume alcoholic beverages, the alcohol is detoxified by the liver. The good news is that people who stop drinking alcohol at the fatty liver stage may find their condition reversing itself;
- certain drugs, such as acetaminophen (an overdose of this drug is the leading cause of acute liver failure), and acetaminophen combination medications such as Norco, Vicodin, and statins;
- Epstein Barr virus – about 90 percent of adults worldwide are infected with this virus. When the immune system is weak, the virus can cause liver inflammation;
- body piercings or tattoos;
- exposure to certain toxins or chemicals – it is recommended to wash vegetables and fruits before consumption to ensure you are not digesting pesticides as well as to read warning labels on chemicals you use around the house;
- hypopituitarism (underactive pituitary gland);
- exposure to other people’s body fluids and blood;
- hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid);
- unprotected sex;
- exposure to arsenic – this compound is occasionally found in drinking water. Moreover, arsenic is part of a chemical which is used in making certain plastics.
Common symptoms of liver disease may include:
- bloating and gas;
- bleeding or easy bruising;
- excessive sweat;
- dark tar-colored stool;
- dark urine;
- feeling very tired and weak all the time;
- loss of appetite;
- jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and whites of the eyes);
- trouble concentrating;
- loss of sex drive (libido);
- pain in the right upper part of the belly;
- dark patches on underarms and the neck;
You can reduce your risk of many types of liver disease with some simple lifestyle changes:
- alcohol cessation – excess fat deposits in the liver build-up after prolonged excessive alcohol consumption. The sooner a sufferer stops drinking alcoholic beverages, the better his body will be in the long run;
- try to maintain a healthy body weight;
- exercise – regular moderate exercise reduces the incidence of obesity in patients with liver disease;
- limit your intake of vitamin supplements, OTC pain relievers, and prescription medications which aggravate the liver;
- do not consume carbonated drinks – according to research from Tufts University in the US, just one sugar-sweetened soft drink each day is associated with an increased risk of liver disease;
- maintain a healthy nutrition – avoid foods rich in saturated and trans fats as well as fried food;
- do not touch others’ blood;
- stop smoking tobacco and avoid second-hand smoking.
Hepatic problems are a sign that we have trouble digesting something in our lives.
The main emotion associated with the liver is anger. The tensions and sufferings of this organ can reveal the fact that our usual reaction to the challenges of life involves anger.
Every time we deal with our problems with the outside world by screaming and showing a lot of anger, we mobilize all the energies of the liver in this direction, depriving it of a great amount of energy necessary for its functioning. This way, the liver will manifest accordingly and will not properly play its role in the digestive phase.
On the other hand, often suppressed anger (or systematically kept inside) will densify the energy in the liver, leading to more serious pathologies.