Every year, more than 2 lakh people in India die due to liver failure. This is because of the present sedentary lifestyle where people consume more liquor and eat junk food from roadside eateries.
On the occasion of World Liver Day, experts from the city shared tips on maintaining a healthy liver.
Liver has a large functional reserve and hence many liver diseases remain passive for a long time. “The early symptoms are non-specific, such as fatigue and loss of appetite. This may lead to stomach pain, leg swelling and jaundice. However, a few liver diseases have a lot of itching associated with them,” said Dr Poornachandra KS, consultant, gastroenterologist, Fortis Hospital.
Besides excessive intake of alcohol, the bulk of cirrhosis cases are caused by fatty liver and Hepatitis B and Hepatitis-C infections.
“While alcohol abuse is a common reason for liver disease, the current epidemic of obesity and diabetes is contributing to an increasing incidence of cirrhosis,” said Dr Mathew Jacob, senior liver transplant surgeon, BGS Global Hospitals.
“More than one lakh people are diagnosed with Hepatitis-B and Hepatitis-C every year. These liver diseases— primarily affect people in the age group of 30-50 years. In Bangalore alone, about 10,000 people suffer from chronic liver diseases,” said Dr ST Gopal, consultant medical gastroenterologist, Apollo Hospital.
Hepatitis-B and Hepatitis-C infections can damage the liver and also lead to liver cancer, he added.
To ensure that your liver is safe, it is important to know the ‘alcohol units’. One unit of alcohol is equivalent to a small glass of wine, half a pint of beer, or a single measure of spirits. “Women should not drink more than one or two units a day. Men should not drink more than two or three units a day. More importantly, one should not indulge in binge drinking,” said Dr Jacob.
Rapid weight loss may lead to fatty liver, he added. “Getting oneself vaccinated against Hepatitis-B is a must and one should never share razors, nail clippers or toothbrushes with anyone,” said Dr Jacob.
“In case of blood transfusion, one should ensure that the blood comes from a good and reliable blood bank. Also, since hepatitis can also be sexually transmitted, it’s advisable to have protected intercourse,” said Dr Gopal.