KATHMANDU: The brain, heart, kidneys and liver are among the important organs of the body. The liver is as important an organ as the heart and brain.
The liver makes bile. It is an important part of the digestive system. Liver detoxifies. It removes toxins from the body and promotes the body’s processes.
The liver is responsible for making blood-clotting proteins, which cause the blood to stop flowing for a while. Most of the liver is located in the upper right part of the abdomen. Alcohol and viral infections can be fatal to the liver.
Long-term heavy alcohol consumption (more than 10 years) and long-term viral infections cause the liver to shrink in size. It causes permanent scarring, which causes the liver to stop working. This disease is called ‘liver cirrhosis’ in English and the medical language.
Khabarhub’s Bina Neupane approached Dr. Ananta Shrestha to discuss liver-related hazards and the preventive measures against such hazards. Excerpts:
What kind of problem is cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease. A normal person’s liver is soft and works well. However, due to some reason, after the liver gradually deteriorates, there is a lot of fat in the liver and the shape of the liver also changes. Cirrhosis is when the liver gradually stops working.
What kind of person is vulnerable to this disease?
If the liver is gradually damaged, there will be many problems. Cirrhosis occurs in people who drink alcohol daily, and hepatitis B and C also cause liver damage in people.
Fatty liver problems appear in those who drink alcohol and those who have other hazards like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.
What are the symptoms of cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is a progressive disease. The signs of this disease appear gradually. Until 80 percent of the liver is damaged, no symptoms are seen.
The first sign is extreme tiredness, nausea and vomiting. It shows two signs even if no examination shows the disease. Then gradually the eyes become yellow, becoming jaundiced. The symptoms include fainting, irrational talk, black stools and in some cases even vomiting blood.
In which age group is this problem seen more?
As it is a chronic disease, it occurs above 50 years of age. However, due to the fact that they have been consuming alcohol since their childhood, we have found hepatitis and cirrhosis at an early age even in their 20s.
If you have a problem with jaundice from a young age, is it because of cirrhosis?
You have to check up to ensure it. Jaundice from childhood does not necessarily mean cirrhosis. So a full diagnosis should be done.
How is cirrhosis treated?
Cirrhosis does not mean life is over. If it is identified and diagnosed, we can stop cirrhosis in its early stages. If water accumulates in the stomach, internal veins swell up in the chest, or the symptoms like vomiting blood, and loss of consciousness appear, then we treat it. Even after treatment, if the liver does not work, a liver transplant will be necessary.
What should one eat or not eat if s/he has liver problems?
There is a difference between food that does not cause liver disease and food that does. In order not to get liver disease, first of all, do not drink alcohol, reduce obesity, do not eat too many sweets, do not eat white rice daily, do not eat very greasy potato dishes; eat wheat food, do 45 minutes daily without heavy exercise, even walking will prevent the problem of fat accumulation in the liver.
Once the stomach becomes watery due to cirrhosis, there is no energy to store food. Therefore, the number of calories and nutrients should be eaten quickly, without leaving a gap in time.
What should be paid attention to prevent the problem in the liver?
The first thing is to stop drinking alcohol. Pay attention to diet and exercise, to prevent hepatitis B disease, hepatitis C does not occur then. It usually occurs in people who take drugs and wear many tattoos.
People who need a lot of blood transfusions should be checked for Hepatitis C from time to time. It is better not to take unnecessary medicines without consulting a doctor. If we can stop the consumption of Ayurvedic medicine taken by unauthorized persons, we can avoid cirrhosis.