October is Liver Disease Awareness Month
As the weather starts to cool and we start looking ahead to the excitement of autumn, it is also critical to cast our attention to our health, including one of the most crucial and hardest working components of the body — the liver. The liver is responsible for facilitating digestion, transforming the food we eat into energy, and filtering out toxic substances from our bodies so that we can stay healthy and well.
Overall, the liver is a crucial organ that carries out various functions, enabling us to enjoy optimal health. Throughout the month of October, we are proud to call attention to liver disease awareness. It reminds us that it is essential to consider the health of our liver and ask important questions such as: "How can I help boost my liver function?" or "How do I know if I'm at risk for liver disease?" The gastroenterologists at Digestive Health Associates of Texas are here to address these questions and more and can help you access the best care possible for your health. Keep reading as our Dallas, TX team offers further details surrounding diseases that affect the liver.
Are there different forms of liver disease?
Liver disease involves medical issues that result in inflammation or cause harm to the liver. Liver disease is not any one individual "condition" but rather a broad term to reference the variety of conditions that could interfere with liver health. The causes of the different types of liver conditions may also vary. Some liver conditions occur due to excessive alcohol consumption or infections such as from a virus. Others might result from an excess amount of bilirubin present in the liver. Liver disease involves a variety of conditions, including:
- Bile duct diseases – Such diseases cause blockage in the bile ducts and inhibit the flow of bile. Bile duct diseases can consist of:
- Birth defects (such as biliary atresia)
- Inflammation (which leads to scarring and can cause liver failure)
- Hepatitis – This involves an inflammatory issue of the liver.
- Jaundice – An excess of bilirubin in the liver leads the whites of the eyes and the skin to take on a yellowish color.
- Fatty liver disease – A condition that arises when a buildup of fat accumulates inside your liver. Fatty liver disease can cause cirrhosis.
- Cirrhosis of the liver – Healthy liver tissue is taken over by scar tissue, leading to decreased liver function.
Since there are broad differences among these conditions, it is best to speak with a local GI doctor to pinpoint the underlying cause of your liver issues so that the appropriate treatment strategy can be developed.
What are the common signs and symptoms of liver disease?
While varying liver conditions can have different causes, several signs and symptoms of liver disease will be the same. It is vital to visit a GI specialist at Digestive Health Associates of Texas, so a proper diagnosis and treatment plan can be provided. Common signs and symptoms of liver disease include:
- Abdominal swelling and discomfort
- Dark-colored urine
- Lack of appetite
- Yellowish hue to the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- Itchy skin
In the event you notice one or more of these symptoms listed above, get in touch with one of our gastroenterologists in Dallas, TX to request an appointment.
What can be done to improve liver health?
When seeking care from a GI specialist for diseases affecting the liver, you will likely receive personalized information on how you can help improve your specific condition. There are, however, a few helpful tips that every individual should incorporate to boost their liver health and function. These tips involve:
- Drink adequate amounts of water.
- Avoid foods high in salt, sugar, and fat.
- Consume foods high in fiber.
- Maintain a balanced diet.
- Avoid or limit the consumption of alcoholic drinks.
Get treatment for liver disease in Dallas, TX
With about 1 out of every 10 individuals in the U.S. impacted by some type of liver disease, you or a loved one may need help locating treatment solutions for addressing liver problems. In honor of October being Liver Disease Awareness Month, we invite you to contact Digestive Health Associates of Texas for a consultation and learn how we can address your liver disease or the steps you can take to help guard against it. For patients already facing signs or symptoms of liver disease, our Dallas, TX gastrointestinal specialists can assess any concerns, render a diagnosis, and formulate an ideal treatment approach to address your individualized needs.