Do you have any question like signs and symptoms of liver disease?
1. How to reverse liver disease naturally?
2. How to cure liver damage naturally?
3. What are the signs and symptoms of liver disease?
4. What are the first signs of liver damage?
5. What are the signs of liver damage from alcohol?
6. What are the side effects of liver disease?
7. What are the long term effects of liver damage?
8. How to reverse the effects of liver damage naturally?
some of the signs and symptoms of liver disease are Loss of appetite, High blood pressure, Getting readily infected, Getting bruised easily because the liver is not producing the blood clotting factors. Liver produces prothrombin that works with platelets to clot the blood in case of any external injury to prevent full drainage of blood through the wounded area.
Liver Function, Location & Anatomy
Liver is a vital meaty organ of human beings located on the right side of the body below the lungs. The liver is vital cause it supports almost every organ inside the human body. It is the largest organ in humans. Weighing around 2kg it is reddish brown in colour and a rubbery type of organ. Protected by the rib cage, it has two sections, namely the right and left lobes. The liver is connected to the hepatic artery and portal vein, two principle blood vessels in the body.
Functions of liver
Hepatocytes or liver cells carry out all the functions of the liver. The liver is responsible for more than 500 functions in the body. Some of these functions are performed by the liver only and the others are carried out in combination with other glands and organs. The principal functions are as follows:
- Detoxification of body.
- Regulation of glycogen storage.
- Decomposition of red blood cells.
- Plasma protein synthesis(albumin).
- Major role in metabolism of the body.
- Hormone production and breakdown.
- It stores, many vitamins like vitamins A, D, K.
- Helps in blood clotting in case of wear and tear.
- Synthesizes a large part of amino acids in the body.
- Releases glucose into the blood by performing glycogenolysis, that is the breakdown of glucose into glycogen
- Functions as an accessory digestive gland by producing bile. The bile is stored in the gall bladder. The bile, an alkaline compound helps in the digestion of fats by emulsification of lipids.
Liver thus has multiple and diverse functions. So, failure of liver or any hindrance to its normal activities can cause many diseases in the body. The normal functioning of a human will be hampered and he will fall ill.
What is liver disease?
Any disturbances in the liver function that can lead to illness and hamper physical, physiological and metabolic activities in the body is called liver disease.
Common liver problems
There is more than a 80 liver disease. Among them the following are most common
- Fatty liver
- Wilson’s disease
- Gilbert’s syndrome
- Alcoholic liver disease
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Budd-Chiari syndrome
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis
- Transthyretin related amyloidosis
- Hereditary diseases/ hemochromatosis
Of all the above diseases, perhaps the most fatal one is liver cirrhosis.
How can the liver get damaged?
Liver being a sensitive organ, may get damaged due to a variety of reasons. Due to the following reasons liver functionality may get reduced.
- Infection: Viruses and parasites may cause liver damage. They may infect the liver and may cause inflammation, which in turn reduces liver function. The viruses spread through blood or semen. It may get through intimate physical contact with a person or consuming contaminated food and water. The most common types of liver infection due to parasites or viruses are Hepatitis A,B,C. Hepatitits or liver inflammation is caused by hepatitis viruses.
- Abnormality of immune system: This is also called auto-immune disease. The immune system works to eradicate external threats inside the body to keep it healthy. But, in certain cases the immune system malfunctions and starts to attack certain parts of it’s own body including the liver. Thus, the liver may get damaged. Autoimmune hepatitits, primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis are examples of autoimmune diseases in liver which cause liver damage.
- Genetics: Liver dysfunction may be hereditary. It can be inherited by the means of an abnormal gene from both or any of your parents. The gene if recessive won’t cause any problem, but when dominant may cause damage to the liver. There are mainly three genetic liver diseases, they are hemochromatosis, hyperoxaluria and oxalosis, wilson’s disease.
- Abnormal growth or cancer: Cancerous cells may develop in the liver hepatocytes or other organs surrounding the liver. Cancer may occur in liver, bile ducts or the fatty tissue of liver( liver adenoma)
- Additional causes: These include the inflicted causes of liver damage due to substance abuse and drug overdose. Consuming limitless alcohol over the years may cause liver damage. Overweight or obesity is another problem. It causes fat to accumulate into the liver resulting in liver damage(non alcoholic fatty liver disease). Additional causes also include high blood sugar level or high levels of triglycerides in the blood. Certain chemicals or toxin may also cause liver damaged when the body is exposed to it beyond normal level.
What are the signs and symptoms of liver disease?
The following are the signs and symptoms of liver disease listed below. We have to keep in mind that initial stages of liver disease does not show any symptoms. So, once signs are detected treatment should be immediately started.
- Hepatic encephalopathy
- In some worst cases, unconsciousness nausea.
- Development of blood vessel visible through the skin.
- Dark urine colour or pale stool colour. The stool may also be bloody.
- Stomach pains. It can be very sharp and feels like a knife edge poking.
- Internal bleeding of veins in the esophagus or stomach veins with blood vomit.
- Diarrhoea can be an indication. Though it does not confirm liver damage but it can alert us.
- Prolonged period of fatigue or weakness. The liver can suppress energy and make it tremendously strenuous to complete the day.
- Itching sensation every now and then. This happens because of malfunctioning endocrine glands as the liver does not stimulate them.
- Swelling in the lower legs or on other parts of the body due to fluid accumulation there. Generally salt and water gets accumulated due to problematic hepatic portal veins. This is called edema.
- Development of pale yellow skin due to accumulation of bilirubin. Jaundice is a symptom of liver failure due to cirrhosis in some cases.
- Low platelet counts. In most cases liver damage is detected by low platelet count during routine culture and blood tests.
What are the effects/ complications arising due to liver damage?
Liver problems may give rise to certain complications as the liver works in tandem with other organs and stimulates various glands.
Acute liver damage may cause cerebral edema or accumulation of fluid in the brain. In some cases, it may deprive the brain of oxygen
Liver disfunction may cause bleeding in the gastro-intestinal tract.
Hepatorenal syndrome is also noted. It is the failure of the kidney due to a malfunctioning liver.
The liver helps in protein and fat metabolism. An affected liver means these metabolisms will hamper. Some proteins that escape digestion and absorption are used by the bacteria to prepare toxic substances. They do so while using the protein for their own physiological process. Due to liver damage, the liver does not function properly and a bacterial population is high. So they readily use the proteins to produce various chemicals that can be absorbed into the body. One of these substances, for example, ammonia can be harmful to the body when absorbed. This gives rise to a complicated medical syndrome called hepatic encephalopathy.
Splenomegaly or swelling in size of the spleen is another critical complication. This happens due to accumulation of blood into the vein due to irregular blood flow and increased blood pressure in the portal vein. The spleen becomes so large sometimes causing abdominal pain.
In later cases gall-bladder stones are common due to uncontrolled flow of bile into the gall bladder.
Treatment for liver failure
Treatment for liver damage includes four steps or four different ways. They are:
- Liver transplantation if necessary.
- Preventing liver cancer or treating it early.
- Treating the already present complications.
- Preventing further damage to the damaged liver.
Preventing further damage
Further liver damage can be treated by a controlled diet and one multivitamin intake daily. Patients who are diagnosed with PBC may need additional supplements of vitamins D and K. Any further use of drugs or alcohol is strictly prohibited. Abstinence from alcohol may increase the health of the liver to a large extent. Even patients with critical hepatitis B or C can reduce liver damage to a large extent by pertaining from alcohol abuse.
Further damage may also be stopped by not using steroidal drugs. The patients should also not use anti-inflammatory drugs commonly known as NSAIDs.
Suppress the immune system with drugs such as azathioprine for the auto-immune disorder.
The patient should be immunized against infection due to hepatitis A, C, as during liver damage the patients are prone to infections.
Treating the already present complications
Eradicate hepatitis B and C virus by taking antiviral medications. But in some cases, patients may show side effects due to anti-viral treatments. So, treatment for liver damage due to hepatitis should be done by an experienced doctor only.
Blood should be removed from patients suffering from hemochromatosis to reduce the level of iron. This should prevent further damage to the liver.
In Wilson’s disease, the patient should be given medications enhancing the release of copper into the urine. This will ensure decrease of copper levels in the body since the copper will be excreted out.
The ankles swell up due to retention of salt and water during edema. The patients should be advised to curb salt intake by restricting dietary salt and fluid to decrease edema or ascites. But, in some cases of damaged liver, this doesn’t help and diuretics are prescribed. During treatment with diuretics, it is essential to monitor the level of creatinine in the blood. Another treatment to prevent ascites is TIPS( transjugular intravenous portosystemic shunting).
Critical liver damage or cirrhosis means the formation of varices in the upper stomach or esophageal region. Bleeding in varices increases the fatality risk. So, it should be treated immediately to prevent further bleeding.
Hepatic encephalopathy should be treated with a protein rich diet and regular monitoring.
The filtration of blood due to hypersplenism can cause reduction of red blood cells, white blood cells to the level of anemia. The patient with anemia must be given blood transfusion or it will lead to further liver damage.
SBP, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis patients have high bacterial growth in their blood and urine. Treatment should be done in hospital with constant monitoring along with intravenous antibiotics. Cirrhosis liver disease being critical should be treated with seriousness.
Preventing liver cancer or treating it early
Cancerous cells pose an imminent threat. However early detection in the curable stage can save the life through surgery. Liver cancer is very hard to detect. The cancerous cells release a protein in the blood called alpha-fetoprotein. Detection of this protein can lead to detection of the cancer. Treatment for liver cancer should start immediately after detection.
In a far advanced stage of liver damage complications will still arise despite treatment. So often, liver transplantation is the only viable option left to save life of the patient. Liver transplantation have a success rate of over 80%. Over 80% of patients stay alive 5yeras after transplantation. Advanced medications assure that the transplanted liver is not rejected. Infection due to transplantation can also be stopped.
Common medicines to cure liver damage/ how to cure liver damage?
Natural cures for liver damage as explained earlier happens due to different reasons. Therefore treatment for each causes are different. Vitamin supplements may be used.
- Ursodeoxycholic acid
- Ribavirin to treat hepatitis C.
- Lamivudin, Interferon used to treat Hepattits B.
- NTBC is a drug to treat metabolic liver diseases.
- Vitamin supplements are used to rejuvenate liver function.
- Lactulose and Neomycin are helpful to cure encephalopathy.
- Antibiotics are used to treat infections during severe cholangitis or SBP.
- Spironolactone, Furosemide are diuretic drugs used to get rid of excess body fluids.
- Azathiophrine is also used in auto-immune diseases. The drugs can affect DNA synthesis.
- Antihistamine hydroxyzine (atarax) and used to treat itching. Rifampin is an antibiotic to treat itching.
- Penicillamine is used to treat Wilson’s disease. Trientine is also used, as it prevents excess copper absorption
- Prednisone is a corticosteroid that suppresses immunity. Hence, used in auto-immune diseases and liver transplantation to reduce rejection chance. This drug has side effects like weight gain, stretch marks.
This is how we treat a damaged liver.
How to cure liver damage naturally?
Above we have discussed and named the drugs that can reverse liver damage due to different reasons. But apart from them, there are many natural ways and home remedies by which we can cure the liver. The natural home remedies to reverse liver damage are as follows:
- Milk thistle: It’s a herb effective for curing a wide variety of liver disease. It cures liver damage due to hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcoholic damage etc. 900 mg should be taken twice daily before meals.
- Apple cider vinegar: It helps in fat metabolism and also detoxifies liver. One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar should be mixed with one glass water. To this mixture, one tablespoon honey must be added. To cleanse the liver this mixture should be taken three times daily.
- Dandelion root tea: The tea must be prepared with dandelion root powder. This facilitates reversing the liver damage. It can also be used by boiling dandelion roots in water and then drinking it.
- Amla / Indian gooseberry: One of the richest sources of vitamin C helps maintaining liver function at optimal level 4-5 raw amla should be consumed with curd.
- Licorice: Licorice is consumed by making tea with the help of powdered licorice roots. This is an excellent natural process to treat nonalcoholic fatty liver conditions. For best results drink it twice daily.
- Turmeric: Turmeric has antiseptic and antioxidant properties. Thus helps in cleansing the liver. Its antiviral properties can be used to treat hepatitis B and C. 1 teaspoon of turmeric in one glass milk should be consumed every day.
- Papaya: An effective remedy for liver cirrhosis. It may be eaten raw or juiced. Lemon juice mixed with papaya juice is an excellent way to naturally cure liver damage.
- Spinach with carrot juice: Half a glass each of spinach and carrot juice should be mixed and consumed twice daily.
- Avocados and walnuts: Avocados and walnuts have glutathione that helps in cleansing the liver. Thus liver damage may be reversed by clearing all the toxin and liver will function to its optimal level.
- Alcohol must be avoided: The diet should consist of fresh fruits and leafy vegetables. A patient with liver damage should drink 10-12 glasses of water every day. The water must be fluoride free.
- Regular exercise: Regular exercise increases metabolism and stimulates the proper digestion of food particles. It will also ensure fat elimination. 40 minutes of exercise daily is necessary to reverse liver damage and get healthy.