The liver is the second largest organ in the body. It is also the second most complex organ in the body, after brain. The liver performs many vital functions related to digestion, immunity, metabolism and the storage of nutrients within the body. World Liver Day, observed every year on every 19 April, aims to spread awareness about liver-related diseases and how they can be managed effectively.
New Delhi: The liver, weighing up to 1-1.5 kgs and situated on the right side of the upper abdomen, is the second largest organ in the body. It is also the second most complex organ in the body, after brain. The liver performs many vital functions related to digestion, immunity, metabolism and the storage of nutrients within the body. The liver fights infections and detoxifies your body by breaking down and eliminating harmful substances from the body. The liver stores vitamins and minerals such as copper and iron, releasing them if the body needs them. The liver also synthesises and secretes bile – which is stored in the gallbladder and helps in the process of digestion.
The liver is truly an amazing organ, largely because it has the capacity to heal and regenerate itself. Hence, the liver disease process is silent, meaning it is often without symptoms and is especially dangerous. When liver disease develops, it presents as an advanced disease resulting in a 50 per cent death rate. World Liver Day, observed every year on every 19 April, aims to spread awareness about liver-related diseases and how they can be managed effectively. This year, the theme of World Liver Day is ‘Riding New Waves in Liver Diagnosis, Staging & Treatment’.
How to have a healthy liver
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), liver diseases are the 10th most common cause of death in India. WHO said about 10 lakh people are diagnosed with liver cirrhosis every year in the country. Since symptoms do not appear till the disease is well advanced, taking good care of the liver is crucial. To take care of the liver, one needs to make healthier lifestyle choices, such as adopting a healthy eating habit, staying physically active, etc. Here are some important tips to prevent liver disease and stay healthy:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet, mainly focusing on fibre-rich foods such as such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, rice, and cereals.
- Include fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help improve liver fat levels and bring down inflammation.
- Avoid junk and fatty foods that are loaded with salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
- Maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly. Daily exercise will help burn more fat, including fat around the belly. Increased fat stored in the stomach can lead to insulin resistance and eventually cause fatty liver disease.
- If you do drink, consume it in moderation since it takes a lot for your liver to break down the toxins from alcohol.
- Quit smoking, which not only damages the liver but also increases the toxic effect of medicines you might be taking on the liver.
- Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
- Avoid sharing needles or personal care items.
- Always wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
- Practice safe sex because viral hepatitis from hepatitis A, B, and C can be transmitted from person to person through sexual contact.
In addition to this, keep a check on your glucose and cholesterol levels which might cause fatty liver disease.