According to WHO data published in May 2014, liver disease deaths in India reached 216,865 or 2.44% of total deaths.
Most doctors warn that it is imperative for people to be alert of liver diseases, as they are silent killers. "In most of the cases, patients don't realize they are suffering from a liver ailment until it's too late. Blood tests are not able to detect liver ailments at an early stage. Only when it becomes serious, does the condition presents itself," says Dr Rupali Datta, nutritionist, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute (FEHI). And even the later symptoms may be like simple fatigue, anemia, jaundice or swelling in leg.
Dr Ajay Kumar, Chief & Executive Director, Fortis Escorts Liver & Digestive Diseases Institute shares, "Alcohol abuse remains to be the primary reason of liver cirrhosis. Having said that, India has a major burden of all Hepatitis B and C viruses, which are the major sources of liver diseases. In addition to this, obesity, diabetes and sedentary lifestyle are affecting a large population of the country."
Here are the things you should keep in mind to protect your liver:
- Say NO to alcohol: While all fatty livers don't happen because of alcohol, it is a primary catalyst for many liver disorders. Hence, an alcohol-free lifestyle is a big step towards the well being of your liver. Dr Kumar adds, "It is important for people to know beyond which point, alcohol consumption can pose a health risk. Some may be able to take a big quantity for a long time without showing danger signs; others may succumb to liver ailment even with a small quantity. I often tell people, 1/3rd of those who drink develop liver ailments and an equal number live to preach it doesn't harm." If you have to drink, avoid spirits as they have higher alcohol content over wine. Also, don't drink on an empty stomach, which puts your liver in a tough spot, working overtime to handle the rush of concentrated alcohol.
- LOSE extra flab: Obesity is one of the primary reasons for a dysfunctional liver. Thereby the first step to guard your liver is to lose excess weight. Regular fitness regime helps you attain a healthy body weight and lowers the risk of fatty liver disease. Not only that. Exercise helps improve the function of liver enzymes.
- WATER to detoxify: The core function of liver is to render harmless toxic chemicals that we take in through our food, water and air. As we all know, water plays a pivotal role in detoxifying the body. Hence, it is advised to consume at least 8-10 glasses of water every day to pump up the detoxification process.
- FIVE fruits and vegetables rule: Have you ever asked your doctor how to determine if you are eating adequate fruits and vegetables? Well, here is the answer. Dr Rupali suggests a diet that has at least 5 fruits and vegetables (combined) in a day. It defines a healthy nutritious diet.
- PROBIOTICS: There have been studies indicating a strong link between fatty liver and disordered intestinal function. Probiotics can help normalize the gut balance and flush out toxins from the body and ensure better circulation.
- VITAMIN C and B: Vitamin C has healing properties and also helps in building immunity. Its cousin Vitamin B complex helps aid liver function.
- PROTEIN: Protein majorly helps in regeneration of healthy liver cells.
- FIBRE and mineral rich: Your breakfast should be low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals. You can have multi-grain cereal or diet rich in choker, bran and more.
- DANDELION tea: This is a tested remedy for liver disorders. It acts as a catalyst to mobilize stagnant bile from your liver.