What can you do to ensure a healthy liver?
Functions of the Liver
The liver is the second largest organ in the body after the skin. It performs many vital functions including:
- Producing bile
- Producing proteins for blood plasma
- Detoxifying the blood by clearing harmful substances such as alcohol and drugs
- Helping the blood to clot
- Storing and releasing glucose as needed
- Converting ammonia to urea
- Regulating the balance of hormones
- Controlling cholesterol levels
A liver check-up usually starts with blood tests called liver function tests (LFTs) to detect liver damage. In the most commonly performed LFTs, the levels of liver enzymes such as ALT (SGPT) and AST (SGOT) are measured. Under normal circumstances, these enzymes are contained within liver cells. But if the liver is injured, the enzymes are spilled into the blood stream, raising the enzyme levels in the blood.
Depending on the results of the previous liver check-up and general health condition, doctors may advise regular liver check-ups to be done every three, six or twelve months.
Care for Your Liver
Below are some tips for a healthy liver:
- Use medications wisely. Read dosage instructions and side effects information carefully. All drugs are processed by the liver and some may hurt your liver.
- Don’t drink a lot of alcohol. Excessive alcohol damage liver cells and may lead to fibrosis of the liver.
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Obesity can cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
- Cut the risk of hepatitis. Avoid contact with other people’s blood and body fluids and get vaccinated if you’re at higher risk of contracting hepatitis.
The liver is responsible for processing alcohol and detoxifying the blood. Excessive alcohol intake may overwork the liver and long-term alcohol abuse may lead to alcoholic liver diseases, inflammation and fibrosis.
For the health of your liver, you are advised to:
- Never mix alcohol and medicine
- Take at least two alcohol-free days a week
- Limit alcohol intake.
You can check if you are drinking too much on this page:
- * All research and clinical data should be used as reference purposes only, results may vary.