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Who Needs A Healthy Liver?
By Dr Cris Beer on
For the first few years that I worked as a general practitioner I had underestimated the liver's significant role in the general wellbeing of my patients. I had learnt that the liver was important from a physiological point of view and that it helped keep us alive, but I hadn't fully considered how it keeps us feeling well on a day-to-day basis.
I had been taught how to detect liver-function abnormalities in blood testing and how to feel for an enlarged or tender liver - all signs of obvious and severe liver damage. But as for understanding liver damage well before any obvious clinical signs begin to show, I was completely in the dark. I had seen severe liver damage from chronic alcoholism and from liver disease such as hepatitis, but the subtler symptoms and signs of liver impairment was something I was not adept at detecting. It wasn't until I started practising holistic medicine that I realised the big part the liver plays in a patient's ability to get well and stay well.
Many patients who present to my clinic are struggling to lose weight despite exercising regularly and eating relatively healthily. They often have fluid retention, hormone issues such as low libido, and generally feel tired and unwell. The answer for these patients is not to eat less and move more, as popular advice would suggest, but rather to investigate the deeper physiological issues in the patient's body. This physiological disturbance is often rooted in poor liver health, as a cause of the patient's lifestyle choices, genetics, infection and/or something known as environmental overload. These are explained in futher detail in my book Healthy Liver. But for now let's look at who can benefit from a healthy liver.
Who benefits from a healthy liver?
This is really a rhetorical question because everyone can benefit from a healthy liver! If you value your wellbeing and want to feel healthy and energetic then looking after your liver is key. In particular, the following issues may indicate compromised liver health:
- Struggling to lose weight
- Carrying weight around your mid-section
- Feeling tired despite getting a good night's sleep (including those with chronic fatigue syndrome and/or fibromyalgia)
- Feeling bloated
- Unexplained itcy skin, especially at night
- Dark circles under your eyes
- Excess fluid, especially around your ankles
- A coating on your tongue
- Bruising easily
- Having a poor immune system
- Have blotchy skin
- Frequent headaches
- Gallbladder issues such as gallstones
- High cholesterol levels or high blood pressure
- Having been diagnosed with fatty liver
- Having been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome
- Liver function abnormalities detected in blood testing
- Consistently drinking too much alcohol or binge drinking
- Having taken regular pain-killer medications, anti-depressants or other mood stabilising medications, the oral contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy, epilepsy medications, antibiotics or cholesterol-lowering medications over a period of time
- Having hepatitis or cirrhosis (infection-related or alcohol-related)
As you can see, many of us would fit into the category of needing a healthier liver based on some of the more common symptoms presented above. You may not even realise your liver is your key health issue as liver health can deteriorate gradually and almost unnoticeably at first. It is not until symptoms begin interfering with a person's quality of life that they seek help. Hopefully, at this point liver deterioration can be addressed and health can return.
Republished from Healthy Liver by Dr Cris Beer.
Always speak to your doctor before changing your diet, taking any supplements or undertaking any exercise program. The information on this site is for reference only and is not medical advice and should not be treated as such, and is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional medical advice.