October is Dedicated to Liver Disease Awareness
As the weather starts to cool and you begin looking ahead to the events of fall, it is also essential to cast your attention toward your health, which includes one of the most critical and integral organs in the body — the liver. This organ is in charge of facilitating the digestive process, transforming the food you eat into energy, and ridding your system of noxious materials to help you remain in good health.
As a whole, the liver is an essential organ that is responsible for a range of tasks that help promote optimal health. October is Liver Disease Awareness Month. This month reminds us that it is essential to consider the health of our liver and ask questions like: "What steps can I take to improve my liver function?" or "How do I know if I have liver disease?" The gastrointestinal specialists at GastroArkansas are ready to address these questions and can help assist you in getting the care you need for a healthy liver. Keep reading as our Little Rock, AR team offers additional details regarding health concerns that impact the liver.
What are the different forms of liver disease?
Liver disease involves conditions that result in inflammation or cause harm to the organ. Liver disease is not a singular "condition" but rather a broad name used to refer to the list of conditions that might affect the liver. The causes behind the various forms of liver problems may also vary. Specific liver conditions occur from excessive alcohol use or infectious agents such as a virus. Others can result from an excess amount of bilirubin in the liver. All in all, liver disease consists of several conditions, including:
- Bile duct diseases – Such diseases cause blockage in the bile ducts and impede the proper flow of bile. Bile duct diseases may include:
- Birth defects (like biliary atresia)
- Inflammation (which leads to scarring and can cause liver failure)
- Jaundice – An overabundance of bilirubin in the liver causes the white areas of the eyes and the skin to take on a yellow color.
- Fatty liver disease – A condition that arises when fat has accumulated inside the liver. Fatty liver disease may cause cirrhosis of the liver.
- Hepatitis – The condition of hepatitis involves inflammation of the liver.
- Cirrhosis of the liver – Healthy liver tissue is taken over by scar tissue, causing decreased functioning.
Due to the range of differences involving these diseases, it is recommended to connect with a skilled digestive health specialist to discover the underlying cause of liver concerns so that a personalized treatment protocol can be identified.
What are the common symptoms of liver disease?
Despite that varying liver issues can have different causes, a number of symptoms of liver disease are often the same. It is vital to be diagnosed by a gastroenterologist at GastroArkansas, so a diagnostic and treatment plan can be provided. Some signs of liver disease include:
- Depressed appetite
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Itchy skin
- Dark-colored urine
- Yellowish color to the skin and white portions of the eyes (jaundice)
In the event you notice one or more of the signs or symptoms listed above, please reach out to one of our GI doctors in Little Rock, AR to arrange for an appointment.
How can I boost my liver health?
When you are receiving care for liver disease from a gastrointestinal specialist, you may receive specific information on how to address your unique health concerns. But there are a few helpful recommendations that all individuals should implement to elevate their liver function and health, which include:
- Consume foods high in fiber.
- Stick to a balanced diet.
- Avoid foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid or limit alcohol.
Find liver disease treatment in Little Rock, AR
With around 1 out of 10 people in the U.S. impacted by some type of liver disease, you or a loved one might require help exploring the options available to treat liver disease. In honor of October being Liver Disease Awareness Month, we invite you to contact GastroArkansas for an appointment to learn how we can treat your liver issue or what you can do to help prevent this concern. In the event you are already facing signs or symptoms of liver disease, our Little Rock, AR gastrointestinal specialists can evaluate your symptoms, render a diagnosis, and develop an optimal treatment strategy to address your unique needs.