Get the Facts About Liver Conditions During Liver Disease Awareness Month
As the weather cools down and we are gearing up for pumpkin spice, it is also significant to focus our attention on our health, including one of the most crucial and hardest working parts of the body — the liver. This organ is in charge of aiding in the digestive process, changing food into energy, and removing harmful materials from our systems so that we can stay healthy.
By and large, the liver is an important organ that performs a range of tasks, enabling us to enjoy ideal health. October is Liver Disease Awareness Month. This month serves as an important reminder that it is essential to monitor our liver health and ask important questions like: “What can I do to elevate my liver function?” or “How do I know if I’m at risk for liver disease?” The gastrointestinal specialists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates are ready to address these questions and can help you access the best care possible for your health. Keep reading as our New Orleans, LA team explains additional details regarding conditions that affect the liver.
Are there different forms of liver disease?
The term “liver disease” describes health issues that cause inflammation in or damage to the organ. Liver disease is not a “condition” per se but rather a general term to refer to the varying types of conditions that can affect the liver. The causative factors behind the different types of liver concerns can vary as well. Some liver conditions result due to excessive alcohol consumption or infectious agents such as a virus. Others may result from an excess amount of bilirubin in the liver. Liver disease includes several conditions, such as:
- Bile duct diseases – These conditions cause blockage in the bile ducts and impede the proper flow of bile. Bile duct diseases may consist of:
- Birth defects (such as biliary atresia)
- Inflammation (which leads to scarring and can cause liver failure)
- Fatty liver disease – A condition that develops when fat has built up inside your liver. This may result in liver cirrhosis.
- Jaundice – An overabundance of bilirubin in the liver causes the whites of the eyes and the skin to take on a yellow hue.
- Hepatitis – This involves an inflammatory issue of the liver.
- Cirrhosis of the liver – Healthy tissue within the liver is overtaken by scar tissue, resulting in impaired functioning.
Since there are varying differences involving the conditions mentioned here, it is advised to partner with a skilled digestive health specialist to determine the reason behind your liver condition so that a personalized treatment plan can be developed to help improve your health.
What are the signs and symptoms of liver disease?
Although varying liver issues can have different causes, many liver disease symptoms will be the same. It is important to consult a gastroenterologist at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates, so a proper diagnosis and treatment strategy can be identified. Common signs of liver disease include:
- Abdominal discomfort and swelling
- Dark-colored urine
- Decreased appetite
- Yellowish hue to the skin and white portions of the eyes (jaundice)
- Itchy skin (pruritus)
In the event you experience any of these signs or symptoms listed here, contact one of our digestive health specialists in New Orleans, LA to request an appointment.
What can I do to boost my liver health?
Under the care of a GI specialist for conditions affecting the liver, you might be provided individualized instructions on what you can do to help address your unique needs. But there are some general tips that all individuals should consider to boost their liver health and function. These include:
- Avoid or limit alcohol consumption.
- Follow a balanced diet.
- Avoid foods high in sugar, salt, and fat.
- Consume adequate amounts of water.
- Consume foods rich in fiber.
Learn more about liver disease treatment in New Orleans, LA
Around 1 out of every 10 individuals in the United States is impacted by some form of liver disease. As such, you or a member of your family might need help identifying treatment solutions for addressing liver concerns. In honor of October being Liver Disease Awareness Month, we invite you to contact Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates to request an appointment and hear more about how our team can treat your liver issue or what you can do to help guard against it. For those already dealing with signs or symptoms of liver disease, our New Orleans, LA digestive doctors can listen to your concerns, render a diagnosis, and curate a treatment strategy that best suits your personalized health needs.