Liver Damage and Cirrhosis – Dr. Norman Swan

by | Gastrointestinal Health

liver disease

Your liver is a large organ at the top of the right side of your abdomen. It has several roles. It helps to manufacture cholesterol and protect the cells of your body. The liver produces bile to help digestion, it detoxifies your blood and cleanses it of pollutants in your blood. Liver damage and cirrhosis are dangerous to your overall health.

You may have heard of the liver detox diet, in fact, you don’t need a detox diet. Your liver cleanses itself very well. However, people are concerned and many are overthinking things during lockdown. But are you seeing more evidence of liver damage? If you have a binge, you do damage your liver a bit. Your liver will release certain enzymes and chemicals when it is damaged. These are also early indicators of liver damage and cirrhosis.

Liver Damage and Alcohol

The relationship between liver damage and cirrhosis and drinking is very interesting. Drinking alcohol adds to how much other illnesses are taxing your liver. These exacerbate liver damage and cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease. So, if you’ve had a hepatitis C infection and you drink, you’re more likely to develop cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is considered end-stage liver disease. Symptoms can include getting strong itchiness and new spots appearing on your skin. In some cases, you can also get jaundice bile is now going up into your body. This happened because the liver is not breaking down chemicals the way it used to.

Liver Damage and Obesity

Obesity is a serious catalyst for cirrhosis. If you’re obese you have a very high chance of developing a fatty liver. This is because fat gets deposited inside your liver as well as your stomach. Alcohol becomes more toxic to your liver if you have fatty liver disease and can hasten to have cirrhosis. If you drink and you are obese, you have a significantly higher risk of developing liver damage and cirrhosis. This is yet another reason for reducing obesity, to protect the liver as well as your health and well-being.

But in the course of things, if you’re otherwise healthy and you’re drinking a couple of drinks a day, standard drinks, you don’t really need to worry too much about your liver damage or developing cirrhosis. Unless of course you’ve had other reasons for liver damage through drugs or hepatitis in particular.

Dr Norman Swan, Physician and Journalist