You may not think that the liver and the pancreas play a large role in your everyday life. However, these organs have a huge impact on your overall health and well-being. The liver and pancreas are two of the most important organs in your body. They function in tandem to keep you healthy.
That being said, they can also become damaged over time. Let’s look some of the main causes of liver and pancreas damage. It will also provide you with some helpful tips on how to protect your liver and pancreas from damage.
What is the Liver and Pancreas?
The liver and pancreas are two of the most important organs in your body.
The liver is responsible for processing substances that you have eaten. It also helps to break down toxins that you have produced. The liver does not store large amounts of food; it is designed to process the amount that you eat at any one time.
The pancreas releases enzymes that aid in digestion. These include pancreatic proteases, amylases, and lipases. The pancreatic enzymes help to break down food into smaller parts that the body can absorb.
Together, the liver and pancreas make up the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is responsible for processing food into nutrients and removing wastes from your body.
4 symptom of Liver and Pancreas?
The symptoms of liver and pancreas damage may not be immediately obvious. If you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, get checked out:
- extreme fatigue
- loss of appetite
- abdominal (belly) pain
- diarrhea or constipation
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- dark urine
- poor sleeping pattern
- joint pain
- unexplained weight loss
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor.
Causes of Liver and Pancreas Damage
Reasons for liver and pancreas damage vary. There are many different factors that can cause damage, including: alcohol consumption, autoimmune diseases, blockage of the bile ducts, chronic infections, and ingesting drugs or toxins.
Certain drugs can also damage the liver and pancreas, including: acetaminophen, amiodarone, anabolic steroids, antidepressants, antiretrovirals, antipsychotics, azoles (antifungals), cephalosporins,Codeine, cocaine, corticosteroids, diuretics, erythromycin, isoniazid, methyltryptamine, nandrolone, oxpentifylline, penicillin, pentamidine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, propoxyphene, rifampin, salicylates, succinylcholine, theophylline, tyrosine, and warfarin.
Protect Your Liver and Pancreas
There are many ways to protect your liver and pancreas from damage. The first thing that you need to do is to determine the cause of the damage. Once you know the cause, you can take steps to prevent it from happening again.
- Get tested for liver and pancreatic diseases. Many of these diseases are treatable. If you have the disease, then your doctor can determine the proper course of treatment.
- Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol is known to damage your liver. If you do drink, make sure that you drink in moderation.
- Do not take any pharmaceutical drugs that are known to damage the liver and pancreas, including those listed above.
- Maintain a healthy diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber is important for both the liver and pancreas.
- Do not overeat. Excessive eating can lead to digestive problems, including damage to the liver and pancreas.
- Keep your body fit. Being physically fit can help to protect your liver and pancreas from damage. Consider signing up for a sport or taking a fitness class.
Diagnosis of Liver and Pancreas?
If you or your doctor suspect that you have liver or pancreatic damage, then he or she will perform an examination. The doctor will examine your stools to determine if there is bleeding from the stomach (hepatomegaly). The doctor will also perform a series of tests to identify what is causing the damage (examining the liver and looking at the levels of enzymes in the blood).
Prevention of Liver and Pancreas?
There is no way to prevent your liver and pancreas from getting damaged. However, you can take steps to protect them. The most important thing that you can do is to determine the cause of the damage. Once you know the cause, you can take steps to prevent it from happening again.
Here are five tips you need to know to prevent liver and pancreatic cancer.
1. Get your hepatitis screening
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are two related viruses that can cause liver disease. Most people become infected with HBV, but it’s usually harmless and goes away on its own. But in some people, the virus can cause liver cancer. If your doctor suspects you have HBV or HCV, they’ll likely recommend a hepatitis screening.
If you’re at risk of developing liver or pancreatic cancer, you should get your hepatitis B and/or C screening at least one-two years before you’re scheduled to have any kind of cancer surgery, such as a liver biopsy or pancreatic tumor removal.
2. Eat more fruits and veggies
Vegetables and fruits are packed with nutrients that protect your body against cancer. They also provide fiber, which can help with digestive health and weight loss, and antioxidants, which can combat the oxidative damage caused by free radicals. The more colorful your diet, the better.
A combination of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, such as blueberries, strawberries, broccoli and red grapes, can help protect your body from harmful free radicals and reduce your risk of developing cancer.
3. Quit smoking
Cancer risk goes up with age, and smoking can greatly increase your chances of developing liver and pancreatic cancers. If you smoke, it’s important to quit as soon as possible. Quitting as soon as you realize you’re a smoker can significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, if you’re over age 18 and smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes a week, you can still reduce your risk of cancer by taking advantage of the tips outlined above. But if you smoke more than 10 cigarettes a week, you should seriously consider quitting.
4. Get some exercise
Physical activity has many benefits, including the potential to reduce the risk of many types of cancer, including liver and pancreatic cancers. The more exercise you get, the better. Ideally, you’ll get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week.
If you have a family history of these cancers or are at high risk, you may want to consider adding an additional 30 minutes of aerobic activity daily. Strength training can also reduce the risk of these cancers. But even if you don’t feel like working out, you can still get some exercise. Just move. Walk or ride your bike to work, or do some housekeeping instead of sitting on the couch.
5. Limit alcohol consumption
Drinking alcohol can rapidly increase your body’s level of estrogen, which can up the risk of developing liver and pancreatic cancers. Alcohol is also a known carcinogen, and it’s easy to drink yourself into an early grave. The American Cancer Society recommends limiting alcohol consumption to two drinks per day for women and three drinks per day for men.
Tell your doctor about any new or changing health conditions
If you develop a new health condition, such as gallstones or gout, or if you have a change in your health history, such as a new tumor, it’s important to let your doctor know. This is because pancreatic and liver cancers can develop suddenly, and intervening at the early stages can greatly improve your chances of survival.
Make cancer screenings a priority
It’s important to make sure you’re getting checked for cancer regularly. In addition to getting your hepatitis and colon cancer screenings, you may also want to ask your doctor about getting a liver or pancreatic cancer screening. These screenings are performed using blood tests to detect the levels of certain proteins in your blood. If detected early, many types of cancer can be successfully treated.
Treatment of Liver and Pancreas?
If you or your doctor suspect that you have liver or pancreatic damage, then you will undergo treatment to help prevent the damage from getting worse. The treatment that you receive will depend on the cause of the damage.
Alcohol detox. If you are experiencing symptoms of alcohol toxicity, then you may be eligible for an alcohol detox program. Since the liver and pancreas are damaged by alcohol, an alcohol detox program will help to repair the damage.
Pancreatic enzymes. If you have pancreatic damage, you may be prescribed pancreatic enzymes to help with the digestion and absorption of food.
Antibiotics. If you have chronic bacterial infection, then antibiotics can help to eradicate the infection and prevent liver and pancreas damage. Be sure to take the full course of antibiotics, as prescribed by your doctor.
See a doctor
If you or your doctor suspect that you have liver or pancreatic damage, then you should make an appointment to see a doctor. This is important because liver and pancreatic damage is treatable.
Keep in mind that the sooner that you get your liver and pancreas checked out, the better. There is no point in waiting for symptoms to appear; the sooner you get it checked out, the better your chances of successfully treating the damage.