The liver is a glandular organ that is located below the diaphragm, in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. A healthy liver performs various vital bodily processes and helps in promoting optimal health. However, it's ability to do so, can get hampered owing to the poor lifestyle choices one makes. When it comes to liver damage, unhealthy diet, alcohol or substance abuse, viral infections, metabolic disorders or genetic disorders emerge as the most common contributory factors. If left untreated, liver damage can progress to liver failure. Liver dysfunction, undoubtedly, has serious repercussions on one's health, and must, therefore, be prevented at all costs. Treating liver damage in the initial stages, is the best way to prevent life-threatening complications from arising. Scroll down to get a basic idea on the functions performed by the liver along with some of the effective liver damage treatment options that are commonly used for restoring liver function.
Functions Performed by the Liver
The liver plays a very important role in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Production of bile is one of the many important functions performed by the liver. Bile, which is a digestive juice the liver produces, is stored by the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac located under the liver. Bile is secreted into the small intestine after one ingests a fatty meal. Bile helps in emulsifying the fats and aids in the digestion of fats. It also converts carbohydrates into glucose and thus, helps in providing the cells of the body with the primary source of energy. The liver filters and neutralizes drugs, alcohol and other toxins. It, therefore, plays a very important role in the detoxification of the body. Excessive consumption of alcohol, prolonged use of certain drugs and unhealthy dietary habits can cause inflammation of the tissues of the liver. Under these circumstances, one may start exhibiting certain signs of liver damage. Liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, formation of liver cysts, fatty liver disease, liver cancer and autoimmune liver disorders are some of the medical conditions that can hamper the liver function.
Treatment Options for Liver Damage
The decline in the liver function gives rise to a variety of symptoms. Initially, one may experience symptoms such as loss of appetite, fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain. In absence of medical treatment, further deterioration in the functioning of the liver may cause abdominal swelling, easy bruising, bleeding, dark urine or yellowing of the skin. In case of certain liver diseases, the damage may be irreversible, which is why timely diagnosis and treatment is extremely essential. Given below is some information on how to treat liver damage.
Drug Therapy: Doctors usually prescribe certain medicines for treating liver damage. The types of drugs and the dosage, however, will vary depending on the underlying cause of liver damage. For instance, use of antiviral drugs would be recommended for the treatment of viral infections such as hepatitis. At times, liver damage could even be induced by prolonged use of certain drugs. For instance, an overdose of a drug called acetaminophen is often linked with liver damage. N-acetylcysteine is one such drug that is used to undo the effects of acetaminophen toxicity. Wilson's disease is another liver disorder wherein copper gets accumulated in the body. One of the best options for treating liver damage in such cases would be to use drugs that help in excretion of copper.
Liver Transplant: In severe cases, wherein the liver is unable to perform its functions and has failed completely, doctors may recommend transplantation of the liver. Also known as orthotopic liver transplantation, this is a surgical procedure wherein the damaged liver is removed from the patient's body and a healthy liver is transplanted in its place. In cases, where the damage is restricted to a part of liver, a partial liver transplant may be performed. As the name suggests, a partial liver transplant involves transplantation of a part of the donor's liver.
Surgery: Surgery may also be recommended for patients suffering from symptomatic liver cysts or liver cancer. Liver cancer occurs when an abnormal and uncontrolled cell division causes the development of malignant growth in the liver. Imaging procedures such as liver ultrasound, MRI or CT scan can help in the detection of abnormal growth in the liver. A liver biopsy can also be performed to determine whether the growth is benign or malignant. While surgery may be suggested in order to remove the cancerous growth, chemotherapy or radiation therapy are other treatment options that may be required post surgery.
Lifestyle-related Changes: Besides the aforementioned treatment options, making certain changes to one's lifestyle will also prove beneficial. Since alcohol abuse is one of the most common causes of liver damage, one must refrain from consuming alcohol. It's also essential that one refrains from using drugs that may induce liver failure. Following a healthy diet that includes liver cleansing foods would also help. One can also consult a herbal practitioner to find out more on how to use liver cleansing herbs. Such natural remedies may certainly help in restoring liver function to some extent.
Liver damage treatment options generally vary depending on the nature of liver disease and the condition of the liver. Besides the aforementioned treatment options, some other treatment options may be suggested for specific liver problems. For instance, in patients suffering from hemochromatosis, wherein iron levels are very high, periodic removal of blood may be required. Well, whatever be the underlying cause, the importance of timely treatment can't be stressed enough. Signs of liver damage, therefore, must never be ignored and should be treated at the earliest.