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Did you know that 1 out of 10 Canadians is affected by liver disease? The liver is a vital organ. Here is how to take care of it.
The liver plays its role together with other organs like the pancreas, intestine and gallbladder. Its main functions are metabolizing (transforming and producing various substances), storing and eliminating. It primarily has the following functions:
If you believe that liver disease is always linked to excess alcohol and drugs, think again! Anyone can affected by it at some point in their lifetime. However, it is true that there are certain risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, a family history of liver disease and taking certain medications.
That said, people tend to think that the liver is involved when they experience certain symptoms or health issues. Statements such as “My liver hurts”, “My liver is sluggish”, or “My liver isn’t functioning properly”, sometimes reflect misconceptions. It’s easy to mistakenly attribute ills to the liver that are in fact caused by another organ, like the stomach or the intestine. Consult a doctor before concluding that you have hepatic issues.
However, it is true that a number of liver diseases exist (numbering over 100). They can occur at any age for various reasons. Among the most common, we see:
Liver diseases have medical consequences with varying degrees of severity ranging from minor to serious, and in some cases, even fatal. Therefore, it is important to take them seriously. Speak to your doctor promptly if you have any doubts about your liver health.
A healthy lifestyle and various preventive measures can positively impact your liver function. Here are a few suggestions:
It is important to know that, nowadays, the liver is an organ that can be transplanted to another person affected by life-threatening liver disease. Therefore, organ donation can be beneficial. If you wish to donate your organs upon your death, all you have to do is sign the sticker at the back of your health card. You can also sign a consent form at the RAMQ [Quebec Health Insurance Board]. Don’t hesitate to speak to your loved ones or to health care professionals if you feel the need to.
The liver is a vitally important organ. Take care of it. For more information about liver disease, visit the Canadian Liver Foundation at www.liver.ca or speak to your pharmacist, who is always there to answer your questions about health, medications and vaccines!
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