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  • What’s the deal with the liver?
    Added by My Identity Doctor
    I know only a few things about the liver, and the extent of that knowledge is really that the liver can be damaged due excessive use of alcohol. Chances are, you may be in the same boat. The liver is actually an organ that weighs about three pounds [1]—it filters your blood of toxins [1], helps your body process nutrients, and secretes bile that helps in digestion of food and helps your body absorb fats. [2] On Twitter, a friend told me the liver has 1000 functions–far too many to list here!
    Cartoon image of a dark reddish brown liver
    Liver disease can be congenital, genetic, or acquired. Acquired liver disease can be caused by a virus, or significant alcohol use—as well, obesity or malnutrition may cause liver damage. [3, 4] Scarring of the liver, also known as fibrosis, can cause damage to the liver, which is called cirrhosis when the liver’s ability to function is impacted—eventually lead to liver failure. [3] Acute liver failure is usually caused by a virus or drug overdose, and can be reversed [4] so long as treatment occurs rapidly, but chronic liver failure can require a liver transplant, and may be managed through healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and managing health issues that are cirrhosis-induced. [5]
    What are the symptoms of liver disease?
    Signs you may have liver disease include [5.1]
    • Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)
    • Bruising easily
    • Abdominal pain
    • Abdominal swelling
    • Nausea and vomiting; lack of appetite
    • Abnormal stool color
    • Swollen legs and ankles
    Remember, these signs may be due to another problem, such as kidney failure or something else entirely, so it is important to talk about your symptoms with a doctor and have tests done. Tests for liver disease may include a biopsy, blood tests, or other scans such as a CT scan, MRI or ultrasound to get a clear picture of how the liver looks and any scarring present. [5.2]
    How can you avoid liver disease? 
    In some cases, it is not always possible, in the case of genetic or virus-induced liver failure. However, abstaining from alcohol (or consuming in moderation) and illegal drugs, and taking prescription drugs properly, can preserve your liver function. As well, getting vaccinated for diseases that may injure the liver such as hepatitis A and B. [6]
    Treat your liver well this October, for Liver Awareness Month! If you have liver disease, or are positive for hepatitis A or B, wearing medical ID jewelry can help you stay safe. As well, liver disease is often treated by liver transplant, from a living or deceased donor. If you are an organ donor, consider engraving this on your medical ID jewelry to ensure your wishes are known.
    Published by My Identity Doctor on October 25, 2017


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