Your liver is one of the largest organs in your body. It is present just behind your ribcage on the right side of your abdomen. Everything you eat, drink, breathe, or absorb through your skin eventually reaches your liver. The liver purifies your blood of harmful toxic substances while ensuring nutritious substances are broken down for release of energy or stored for later use.
Your liver also has an amazing capacity for regeneration. Even if 75% of your liver is removed or diseased, it can re-grow to near normal size. However, this does not mean that your liver is indestructible. Excessive drinking, a diet high in fatty foods, hepatitis infection, genetic conditions, smoking, and drug/medication abuse are some of the causes for developing a fatty liver or cirrhosis.
Here are a few ways to look out for your liver:
Avoid too much alcohol: It is a well-known fact that too much drinking can damage the liver. So how much is too much? More than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women over a period of many years can result in liver cirrhosis.
Never mix medication with alcohol: Even if you are a moderate drinker, mixing alcohol with medications like Tylenol or acetaminophen can be toxic to your liver.
Get vaccinated against hepatitis: If you have been infected with hepatitis or are at an increased risk for infection, speak to your doctor about the benefits of getting hepatitis A & B vaccines.
Use medications only as directed: Prescription and non-prescription drugs must only be used as instructed by your doctor.
Body fluid and blood precautions: Hepatitis infections can occur by accidental needle sticks, improperly cleaning up blood and body fluids, unsafe sex, and sharing intravenous needles, razor blades or toothbrushes.
Carefully handle aerosol sprays, insecticides and other toxic chemicals: Take the necessary precautions such as wearing a mask, gloves, and other protective measures.
Reduce fatty food consumption and watch your weight: Being obese increases your risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Regular exercise and a balanced diet will keep your liver healthy.
In addition to the above-mentioned tips, visiting your doctor or a gastroenterologist on a regular basis to ensure your liver is in good condition is critical to maintaining overall health and well-being.