Why It’s Important To Love Your Liver.
I know it’s been a LONG time since I posted on my blog and I’m really sorry to have been so bad with posting but I’m hoping the this post will help explain whats been happening in my life but also to help raise awareness for a cause that has suddenly become very close to home for me.
In February this year I was diagnosed with Liver Disease, this is a diagnosis that for the most part I have chosen to keep private, at the moment I’m still undergoing tests to try and pinpoint exactly what kind of liver disease I have, the Doctor says that right now it looks most likely to be a condition called Autoimmune Hepatitis, however this is why I’ve been away for a few months is because in all honesty I haven’t had much energy to do anything except do university work and sleep and even that has been a struggle for me at times. This isn’t however a pity party to try and make you all feel sorry for me, I just wanted to start with some background, the main aim of this blog is to emphasise the importance of looking after your liver, because I genuinely cannot stress enough how important it is. I also want to take the time in this blog to dispel some of the myths that surround liver disease.
The first myth that I would like to take a moment to dispel is the idea that all liver problems are caused by alcohol, this is a myth that I fell victim to as well, as when diagnosed my first comment was ‘but I don’t drink that much’. The Doctor then explained to me that actually there are many different causes of liver disease for example, being overweight, not keeping a balanced diet e.g. eating too many fatty or sugary foods that it’s hard for your liver to process, not exercising enough or coming into contact with hepatitis somehow (Hepatitis is it’s own separate disease but it is classified as a liver disease). Now don’t get me wrong, heavy drinking is still seriously bad for your liver and is one of the leading causes of liver disease but it is not the only cause.
The second myth that I want to address is the idea that you cannot get any kind of liver disease if you’re young. Liver disease can occur at any age, I was 5 months past my 21st birthday when I was diagnosed. Yes it is rare for liver disease to occur in a person under the age of 40, however it isn’t unheard of and can still happen. It really is important to look after your liver regardless of your age.
Tips on how to love your liver
1. Drink plenty of water – I cannot stress enough how important it is to drink plenty of water. Water flushes out the toxins in your body and helps to flush those toxins out of your liver. Making sure that you take in enough water especially in summer weather when it is easy to dehydrate will keep your liver healthy.
2. Limit your Alcohol intake – This may seem like a given but excessive consumption of alcohol can be seriously damaging to your liver at any age. If you drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week you are already increasing your chances of developing liver disease.
3. Eat a balanced & healthy diet – Limiting the amount of sugary and fatty foods you eat will help to keep your liver healthy. It’s harder for your liver to process sugary and fatty foods meaning that if you pump your liver full of them eventually you will cause some damage to your liver. Eating a healthy and balanced diet will help improve your liver health.
4. Limit the amount of chemicals/drugs that you put into your body – Certain painkillers / medications can damage your liver if you take them, now I’m not saying completely cut them out however certainly limit your use of them to only taking them when absolutely necessary e.g Instead of maybe popping a paracetamol for your headache, drink some water or try and get some fresh air to see whether that helps before taking a painkiller. It may not seem like a lot however in the long term your liver will thank you.
How do I cope with Liver Disease?
I know this sounds like a really egotistical sub-heading, however it honestly isn’t meant to come across that way. Since being diagnosed in February, my main coping technique has been just listening to my body and not pushing my body past it’s limits.
There are days when I can genuinely feel my liver throbbing inside my body due to inflammation, which are usually the days when my liver hurts the most. These are the days that I have to be the kindest to my liver by drinking lots of water (more than normal) and especially making sure that I make healthy decisions when it comes to food.
You also have to be kind to yourself, self care is really important. Some days I really just don’t feel like doing anything or even when I’ve done nothing all day I still feel exhausted, it’s important to learn that this is okay and you are more than entitled to those days. Take the time that you need to look after yourself and give yourself some TLC.
I really hope that this blog has been both helpful & informative and once again, I’m sorry for the huge lack of blogs on my part. I’m hoping that now that my university year is over, I can set aside more time to focus on blogging.
As always thank you so much for reading.
Until next time,
** If you are concerned about the health of your liver, make an appointment to see your GP, the earlier they catch liver disease the easier it is to treat and hopefully lessen the damage that will occur to your liver **
*** For more information on liver disease please visit https://www.britishlivertrust.org.uk ***