AyuKarma Ayurveda

Liver

What is Liver Problem?

The liver is a wedge-shaped organ about the size of a football located under the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen. Your liver is linked to various functions, including metabolism, energy storage, and detoxification of waste compounds from the bloodstream. It helps digest food and convert it into energy and store this energy until you need it.

There are a variety of reasons why your liver stops functioning well. Perhaps it could be the genetics that disrupts its working or external triggers such as viruses, substance abuse, and obesity.

Over time, these factors can damage the liver, leading to scarring of tissues. Liver cirrhosis is a life-threatening condition which advances to liver failure if not taken care of.

Common liver problems

There are many conditions that show up damaged liver, such as:

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a viral infection that leads to inflammation in the liver. Over time, the liver is unable to function as it should. There are five types of liver, all of which are contagious, but you can bring down the risk of hepatitis by getting vaccinated for types A and B.

  • Hepatitis A: It gets transmitted through contaminated food or water.
  • Acute or chronic hepatitis B: It gets spread through blood or semen. It has no cure but only preventive measures to get away with serious complications later in life.
  • Hepatitis C: It can also be acute or chronic. The underlying cause could be transmitted through blood from someone with hepatitis C.
  • Hepatitis D: It is a serious form of hepatitis that only occurs in people with hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis E: Usually caused by consuming contaminated water.

Fatty liver disease

Fatty liver is basically fat buildup in the liver, which influences its function.

There are two types of fatty liver disease:

  • Alcoholic fatty liver disease: Triggered by binge alcohol consumption.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: The underlying cause of the nonalcoholic disease is not known yet.

If not treated well on time, fatty liver disease may lead to liver cirrhosis and liver failure. Diet and lifestyle changes may often help slow down the advancement of signs and complications.

Autoimmune conditions

In autoimmune conditions, the immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy cells in the body.

These autoimmune conditions may include:

  • Autoimmune hepatitis: This condition affects the liver by causing inflammation due to immune system fault.
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC): This results from the damage to the bile ducts in your liver, allowing bile to build up.
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis: A condition that gradually puts bile ducts at risk of losing their function. Over time, this blockage may result in bile buildup in the liver.

Genetic conditions

These include:

  • Hemochromatosis: A condition that allows iron to build up in the liver, which disrupts the function of the liver if not treated right away.
  • Wilson’s disease: It is the disease of the liver in which copper starts to build up instead of releasing into the bile ducts. Eventually, your liver may become damaged to store more copper, so it starts to move to other organs through the bloodstream and damage other parts of the body, including your brain.
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AT): The liver cannot make enough alpha-1 antitrypsin, a protein that helps prevent enzyme breakdowns throughout the body.

Cancer

Liver cancer that develops in the liver in the first place is called primary liver cancer. But if it develops anywhere in the body and then spreads to the liver, it is called secondary liver cancer. The most common form of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma. Comorbidities linked to other liver diseases, especially those left untreated, may contribute to the development of liver cancer.

Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a scarring of the tissues resulting from other liver diseases, such as alcohol or substance abuse. Cystic fibrosis and syphilis may also lead to liver damage and, eventually, cirrhosis. The liver regenerates itself in response to damage, but this process usually results in the production of more and more scar tissues. The more scar tissues produced, the harder it becomes for the liver to function well.

In its early stages, cirrhosis can still be managed by treating the underlying cause. But if left ignored, serious complications can be experienced by an individual.

Liver Failure

Chronic liver failure is when a part of your liver is damaged for a long time and cannot function properly. Generally, liver failure is linked to liver disease and cirrhosis.

Acute liver failure, on the other hand, is a sudden onset, often in response to an overdose or poisoning.

Risk Factors

Certain risk factors likely increase the risk of liver disease. These may include:

  • sharing needles
  • getting a tattoo or body piercing with unsafe needles
  • occupational hazards where you’re exposed to blood and other bodily fluids
  • Unsafe sex practices usually sexually transmitted infections
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • obesity
  • exposure to toxins or pesticides
  • consuming certain medications with alcohol
  • A family history of liver disease

Signs and symptoms

Liver disease does not always come with alarming signs. However, if signs do occur, they may look like:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Diarrhea

But as the damage to the liver progresses, the signs may become worsening, expecting treatment right away.

  • Jaundice
  • Bleeding easily
  • Swollen belly
  • Mental confusion, which is known as hepatic encephalopathy
  • Sleepiness
  • Skin and eyes that turn yellow
  • Pain in the abdominal area and swelling
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark urine and stool color

Ayurvedic treatment for liver disease

In Ayurveda, the liver is called Yakriti. Pitta is the predominant doshas of the liver. Most liver results are due to aggravation of Pitta conditions, such as excessive production of bile or a blockage in its flow. This vitiation in the Pitta is the prime cause of agni or enzyme activities responsible for absorption, digestion, and metabolism.

At AyuKarma, we have evidence-based treatment for a wide spectrum of liver disorders. Our treatment usually involves detoxification of the body through Panchakarma procedures. Various medicinal herbs are also administered to the patients to rejuvenate the cells and tissues of the body and to calm Pitta. Our treatment is highly effective in improving liver health and slowing down the progression of liver damage.

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