Liver Disease Awareness Month: Help Protect Your Health Against Liver Disease
As the air becomes cooler and you are looking ahead to the events of fall, it is just as important to focus your attention on your health, including one of the most critical and hardest working components of the body, the liver. A vital organ, the liver is responsible for facilitating digestion, transforming the food you eat into energy, and removing noxious materials from your system so that you can stay in good health.
Overall, the liver is an essential organ that carries out a range of functions so you can remain in a healthy state. During the month of October, we seek to raise liver disease awareness. This month is a helpful reminder that it is essential to pay attention to the health of your liver and ask important questions, such as: "How can I help boost my liver function?" or "How can I determine if I'm at risk for liver disease?" The GI doctors at Adult Gastroenterology Associates are here to answer these questions and more and can assist you in getting the best care possible for a healthy liver. Keep reading as our Tulsa, OK team offers additional information about conditions that affect the liver.
Are there different types of liver disease?
In general, liver disease relates to issues that lead to inflammation or damage to the liver. "Liver disease" is not a single "condition" per se but rather an umbrella term to refer to the list of conditions that may interfere with liver health. The causes of the different types of liver conditions may vary as well. Some liver conditions arise from excessive alcohol intake or infections like a virus. Others might be caused by an overabundance of bilirubin in the liver. Liver disease encompasses a number of conditions, including:
- Jaundice – An excess of bilirubin in the liver causes the white areas of the eyes and the skin to take on a yellowish hue.
- Fatty liver disease – A condition where a buildup of fat accumulates within a patient's liver. Fatty liver disease can result in liver cirrhosis.
- Cirrhosis – Healthy tissue within the liver is taken over by scar tissue, resulting in decreased liver function.
- Hepatitis – This is a condition that causes inflammation of the liver.
- Bile duct diseases – Such conditions cause blockage in the bile ducts and prevent the proper flow of bile. These diseases may involve:
- Birth defects (such as biliary atresia)
- Inflammation (which leads to scarring and can cause liver failure)
Since there are vast differences involving these diseases, it is best to connect with a skilled GI doctor to identify the factor(s) underlying your liver issues so that the appropriate treatment strategy can be developed for your health.
What are the symptoms of liver disease?
Even though varying liver conditions can have different causes, a number of liver disease signs and symptoms are commonly the same. It is vital to visit a gastroenterologist at Adult Gastroenterology Associates, so an accurate diagnosis and treatment approach can be identified. Signs of liver disease include:
- Dark urine
- Abdominal swelling and discomfort
- Decreased appetite
- Itchy skin (pruritus)
- Yellowish color to the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
Should you experience any of these signs or symptoms, get in touch with one of our gastroenterologists in Tulsa, OK to request a consultation.
How can I improve liver health?
When seeking care from a GI specialist for conditions affecting the liver, you might be given individualized information on what steps to take to address your specific concerns. There are, however, some recommendations that everyone should implement to boost their liver health and function. These involve:
- Drink adequate amounts of water.
- Avoid foods high in sugar, fat, and salt.
- Adhere to a balanced diet.
- Avoid or limit alcohol.
- Consume foods rich in fiber.
Get liver disease treatment in Tulsa, OK
With approximately 1 out of 10 people in the United States impacted by some variation of liver disease, you or a member of your family may require help locating treatment options available for liver conditions. During October, Liver Disease Awareness Month, we urge you to contact Adult Gastroenterology Associates to set up an appointment to explore how our physicians can address your liver condition or what you can do to help prevent liver disease. For patients already having symptoms of liver disease, our Tulsa, OK gastrointestinal doctors can evaluate your concerns, determine a diagnosis, and develop a treatment plan that addresses your individualized health concerns.