If you encourage your family and friends to do a liver examination, they will probably answer it is not necessary. Indeed, many liver diseases are difficult to detect without a medical examination, because of their asymptomatic nature *. My Liver Exam gives you a few tips to encourage them to take the plunge.
First, you need to remind them the importance of this organ in our body, all the functions it performs and how it can be slowly damaged.
Once passed this stage, your loved ones need to realize that, with age and a certain lifestyle, the risk of liver dysfunction increases.
The liver performs several vital functions in our body
The liver is central to the human body, in charge of three main activities:
– Purification: it recovers and transforms many toxic to render them harmless before disposal. It destroys old red blood and white blood cells and some bacteria.
– Synthesis: it metabolizes carbohydrates, lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides) and proteins (albumin). It is involved in the production and secretion of bile which is stored and concentrated in the gall bladder.
– Storage: it stores energy in the form of sugar and makes it available for the body.
These three essential functions mean that a damaged liver has harmful effects for the proper overall functioning of the body.
® Michael Jung
Your relatives may suffer from liver disease without being aware of it
If your friend/family member has a number of the following symptoms, he / she may be subject to liver disease:
- Nausea, dizziness can lead to vomiting.
- Pain in the upper abdomen.
- A yellow coloring of the skin, commonly known as jaundice. This is a consequence of excess bilirubin * (bile) in the blood and in the body.
- Fatigue and weakness: remember to consult a doctor if these bouts of tiredness persist.
- Fever: it can couple with a pain in the abdomen. It is therefore important to take the temperature because it may be an inflammation or infection.
- Light color Stool: these are usually associated with a liver problem (which may affect the colon).
- Itching, due to the accumulation of bile in the skin.
- Bleeding and bruises. Bleeding (in the nostrils) can be the cause of a protein deficiency caused by a malfunction in the liver organ. (1)
Having these symptoms is not necessarily linked to a liver problem. It is your doctor to diagnose liver infection.
Several factors make us more vulnerable to disease. If the diet is high in fat and / or the consumption of alcohol is important (part alcohol picture link to Understanding), that person is more likely to develop liver disease.
Note that some liver abnormalities, if not addressed early, may lead to more serious complications, such cirrhosis, hepatitis, or cancer.
If the person is already suffering from cirrhosis: he/she will be more likely to develop liver cancer, cirrhosis being the main cause.
Several tests are possible for liver checking
There are many reasons to encourage your family/friends to do a liver examination. This is an essential element for the proper functioning of the body, and the risk increases with age and lifestyle. Moreover, many liver diseases arise without warning!
Your role is to ensure that your loved ones (especially elders) realize the importance of hepatic review and adapt their lifestyle.
To diagnose liver disease, the patient has to go through three tests: a blood test, medical imaging and sometimes performing a biopsy *.
These examinations are prescribed by a doctor following a clinical assessment: during it, the doctor will palpate the abdomen to detect any increase in liver volume, or ascites*.
After studying the symptoms and discussion with the patient, the physician may prescribe a blood test to measure the amount of various substances produced by the body: bile, digestive enzymes, and fibrinogen (used in the clotting process).
Then comes the ultrasound, to identify liver abnormalities. If that’s the case, there shall be further examinations (MRI scanners), to identify abnormalities detected on ultrasound. (2)
This is the way to preserve your liver. Several tests are possible for a regular checkup.
Bilirubin: yellow pigment, resulting from degradation of hemoglobin (when destroying red blood cells). It is its abnormal accumulation in the blood that causes a jaundice. (3)
Ascites: Abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdomen due to liver disease. (4)