Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol intake, the leading cause of liver cirrhosis, should ideally be limited to one drink for women and two for men per day. For people who have been heavy drinkers at some point and have now cut down significantly, the damage is often not visible until years later. Tell your doctor if you have had a history of heavy drinking at some point in time in your life. Your doctor may want to test your liver for damage if any.
Some over the counter drugs, such as acetaminophen, a pain reliever, can cause liver damage when taken in too much quantity in too little time. It is recommended to not use any medication without a doctor’s prescription. According to the FDA, an adult should not take acetaminophen more than 4,000 mg/day.
Apart from controlling your alcohol intake, you can also take a few more lifestyle related precautions. While this may appear to be the least expected cause of liver damage, the fact is that you can prevent hepatitis B and C risk by avoiding body piercing and tattoos made with unsterilized needles. You should also avoid having unknown multiple sexual partners and must say away from IV drug abuse.
Alarm Signals for Your Liver
If you experience the following symptoms, it may be time to get your liver checked:
- Perpetual fatigue
- Lack of appetite
- Dark colored urine
- Nausea, vomiting or other gastrointestinal issues
When you feel something is wrong, the first recommended test is a liver function test that can diagnose whether your gut is oozing unusual levels of enzymes. This is the first sign of liver damage. However, a normal liver function test is no guarantee that your liver is functioning optimally, especially if you have already faced liver damage red flags in the past.Related: 11 Liver Damage Signs You Can’t Ignore
At the same time, poor LFT results don’t always mean that your liver is damaged for sure. Sometimes temporary conditions such as pregnancy or an infection can impact the test results. The doctors will always rely on blood tests, medical history, ultrasound, and MRI and CT scans to get a clearer picture.
Importance of Hepatitis C Test
According to the CDC, hepatitis C cases have almost tripled in the last five years, raising concerns about overall health. That being said, it is always better to know if you are exposed to the risk of hepatitis C, especially since more and more people seem to be affected by it.
Hepatitis C is an infectious liver disease that can spread if one comes in contact with someone who is infected with the virus. The numbers shared by CDC reveal a grim picture with 3.9 million reported cases of hepatitis C, elevating its status to a chronic illness. 75-85% people who have been contaminated by hepatitis C will develop other terminal infections.
Some factors that increase the risk of hepatitis C include:
- Intravenous and/or intranasal drug abuse
- A blood transfusion received before 1992
- Blood clotting treatment received before 1987
- Hemodialysis treatment for a long time
Falling in one of these groups means that your doctor will recommend a blood test to check for the virus. Doctors also recommend people born between 1945 and 1965 should get themselves tested at least once.
There are different types of liver diseases, from hepatitis C to Wilson’s disease (which is a genetic disorder) to cirrhosis, which may occur due to various causes.
All of these disorders, if detected in time, can be treated properly. Sometimes solutions such as weight loss, medication, and simple lifestyle changes are enough to fix the problem. The good news is that all the viral hepatitis conditions are treatable. Because the treatment is readily available, people can successfully eliminate the virus from their system through proper treatment.Related: 6 Ways You’re Hurting Your Liver That Aren’t Drinking
Remember that your liver is not only one of the most vital organs in your body, but also the most resilient. Even it is sick or partially damaged; it has the amazing ability to bounce back to good health with correct medical treatment, surgery, and lifestyle changes.