World Liver Day 2023
Every year on April 19, the world observes World Liver Day (WLD), a day set aside to promote awareness of the liver disease among the general population. According to the World Health Organisation, liver disorders account for 3.17% of all fatalities in India or approximately 268,580 people. World Liver Day is an excellent initiative encouraging people to learn more about liver health. On account of world liver day, you should understand a few things about your liver and its diseases.
Everything That You Need To Know About The Liver
The liver is the second largest organ in our body. Let’s educate ourselves on this world liver day about the importance of this organ, since it is involved in various functions.
- Helps in controlling blood sugar levels by converting excess blood glucose to glycogen
- Aids in digestion by producing bile and helps the metabolism of fats, medications, and alcohol.
- Helps in the detoxification of all the toxic substances in the body
- Responsible for the synthesis of heme and blood-clotting factors
- Involved in the storage of vitamins and minerals.
Liver diseases are generally referred to as “silent diseases” because the liver has the potential to tolerate all the stress until it reaches a point of irreversible, permanent damage and stops functioning.
World Liver Day 2023 theme
2023's World Liver Day has as the theme "Be Vigilant, Do Regular Liver Check-Up, Fatty Liver Can Affect Anyone." The topic emphasizes the importance of routine liver exams because anyone can develop fatty liver, regardless of risk factors like obesity (overweight), insulin resistance (diabetes), and excessive alcohol intake. Recent studies conducted in India have revealed that patients with low body mass indices (25 kg/m2) account for 75% of cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD; a liver disease caused in people who drink little to no alcohol).
Importance Of World Liver Day
Cirrhosis-related causes account for just half of the 20 lakh deaths per year from liver illnesses worldwide; the other half is attributable to viral hepatitis and hepatocellular (liver) carcinoma. Lack of knowledge regarding the severity of the disease, associated risk factors, and prevention is the cause of the increase in the numbers. On this day, leaders in the hepatological community, including private hepatologists, hepato-oncologists, and healthcare officials, speak to the public about the danger of liver disease and ways to prevent it, such as dietary changes and ways of life adjustments. The WLD also gives participants a chance to learn more about the signs and symptoms of liver disease and the significance of early detection, as most liver disorders are asymptomatic.
Various Types Of Liver Diseases
Alcoholic liver disease is caused due to chronic alcoholism and occurs in three different stages namely the initial stage is liver steatosis or simple fatty liver, the second stage is alcoholic hepatitis which causes inflammation of the liver. Alcoholic hepatitis further leads to a life-threatening condition called alcoholic cirrhosis, the final stage where most of the liver cells get degenerated.
Viral hepatitis is an infection that causes inflammation of the liver. Viral hepatitis can be caused by five types of viruses, namely hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E viruses. Viral hepatitis is highly contagious and occurs due to consuming contaminated food, water, and unprotected sexual practices. However, hepatitis B is the most common among them and it lasts longer than six months.
Liver cirrhosis is a condition where healthy liver tissues are replaced with scarred liver tissues due to excessive damage.
Drug-induced liver failure is caused by a lot of medications such as NSAIDs like paracetamol, antituberculosis drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements, and a few antibiotics that can cause detrimental effects on the liver due to overdose.
Nonalcoholic liver disease also referred to as “Fatty Liver”, occurs as a result of excessive build-up of fat ( > 5%) in the body. It is also related to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Autoimmune liver disease happens when our own immune system attacks our healthy liver cells by either causing damage to bile ducts or resulting in inflammation. The three common autoimmune liver diseases are autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cholangitis, and sclerosing cholangitis.
Inherited liver diseases are genetic liver disorders that occur due to the hereditary accumulation of either copper or iron in the body that causes Wilson’s disease and hemochromatosis, respectively.
Liver cancer begins in liver cells when abnormal cells multiply and form tumors, Hepatocellular carcinoma is the common type of liver cancer. The risk of liver cancer is more common in those with liver cirrhosis and those drinking large amounts of alcohol and have a high build-up of fat in the liver.
How Are Liver Diseases Diagnosed?
Your doctor diagnoses the type of liver disease by thoroughly conducting a physical examination and taking the history of your signs and symptoms. Your hepatologist may order liver function tests to assess the liver enzyme levels, a hepatitis profile to check for hepatitis infection, and international normalized ratio (INR) /prothrombin time or PT to analyze your blood clotting ability. The blood reports may indicate the severity of the disease and the intensity of liver damage. Sometimes, even a CT scan or Ultrasound abdomen scan can be recommended for examining the stiffness of the liver.
Possible Treatment Plans To Manage Liver Diseases
Generally, the treatment is based on the type of disease
- Doctors may prescribe antibiotics/antiviral agents in case of treating hepatitis.
- Strict lifestyle modification is needed to manage liver diseases such as cutting down the salt intake and refraining from alcohol and high-fatty foods.
- A liver transplant will be considered for those with end-stage liver diseases or liver cancer; where the diseased liver can be replaced with a healthy liver.
Tips To Keep Your Liver Healthy
Love Your Liver And Live Longer
Keeping your liver in proper shape will help to prevent liver diseases. On this World liver day 2023 let's have the determination to take regular health check-ups to avoid any kind of liver disease.
- To maintain your normal BMI and prevent conditions like fatty liver, it is imperative to perform regular physical exercise that involves cardio, strength, and stretching.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in fiber. Get vaccinated if you are at high risk of contracting hepatitis or having a history of hepatitis infection.
- Avoid taking over-the-counter medicines because consuming inappropriate doses can cause excessive liver damage.
- Limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking. Keep your blood glucose levels under control. Be aware during blood transfusion, to prevent contracting hepatitis infection.
- Get periodic checkups to know the status of your liver enzymes and functions.