What is Liver Failure? | Looking After Your Liver
Liver failure is a serious condition that can often go unnoticed as it is can be mistaken for other conditions or misdiagnosed. See below as we dissect the facts surrounding keeping your liver healthy.
What Does the Liver Do?
The liver is a complex organ which performs a number of critical tasks that support your health. Its main job is to filter your blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the test of your body. In addition, it is responsible for breaking down food and converting it into energy, detoxifying chemical in your blood, secreting bile that ends up back in the intestines, making protein that helps fight against blood clotting.
If you take one thing away from this, it is important that you remember you only have one liver, so any damage that is inflicted upon it will impact your health. This organ plays such an incredibly complex and vital role in our daily lives, that is important for all of us to understand what it does and what you can do to help your liver remain healthier.
The liver is your very own personal processing plant as one of its key functions to remove harmful toxins from your blood and distribute essential nutrients.
When harmful toxins and substances enter your blood stream, your liver acts fast to detoxify and destroy them. Some may be simply a by-product of a normal metabolism process and others may be present due to excessive consumption of alcohol or use of drugs. All the unwanted substances and toxins are then quickly transported to your intestine or your kidneys for disposal.
Main Functions of the Liver
- Processing digested food
- Controlling levels of fats, amino acids and glucose in the blood
- Combating infections
- Clearing the blood of particles and infections
- Destroying all drugs and toxins
- Manufacturing bile
- Storing iron, vitamins and other essential chemicals
- Breaking down food and turning it into energy
What is Liver Failure?
Liver failure occurs when large parts of the liver become damaged beyond repair and the liver is no longer able to function. This is a life-threatening condition and demands urgent medical care. More often than not, liver failure occurs over an extended period of time and can take many years. There are a number of conditions that cause liver failure, such as:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Long-term alcohol consumption
The initial symptoms of liver failure are often mistaken for other conditions and as a result, liver failure can be difficult to diagnose. However, the symptoms that you should watch out for are nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, dark urine, or light-coloured stool.
As liver failure progresses, the symptoms will become more serious and will include, jaundice, bleeding easily, swollen abdomen, mental disorientation, sleepiness which can often lead to the individual falling in to a coma.
How Can Liver Failure Be Prevented?
The best way to prevent liver failure is to limit your risk of developing cirrhosis or hepatitis. We’ve included a number of helpful tips to follow that will help prevent liver failure occurring and ultimately, enable you to live a healthier life.
- Get a hepatitis vaccine.
- Eat a varied, healthy diet.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Always practice proper hygiene.
- Do not handle blood.
- Don’t share any personal toiletry items, including toothbrushes and razors.
- If you get a tattoo or a body piercing, make sure the conditions are sanitary and all equipment is sanitised.
- Practice safe sex and get tested regularly.
- If you use illegal intravenous drugs, don’t share needles with anyone.
If you are concerned or curious about the health of your liver, you can visit LetsGetChecked.com and talk to one of our nurses via Live Chat or purchase our Liver Check test. This test will help determine how your liver is performing by looking at key enzymes which pass into your blood.