The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It performs a wide variety of functions, such as detoxification, food digestion, protein production, iron, vitamin, and glycogen storage. The liver is responsible for maintaining proper blood coagulability, regulates metabolism, and also has immune functions. It has great regenerative abilities, but it is not indestructible, so you should always take special care of it.
An irregular lifestyle, unhealthy diet, alcohol consumption, or permanent medications are not conducive to liver health. The same goes for frequent cosmetic procedures, tattoos, and piercings. There are a number of factors that may disturb the liver and cause the development of liver diseases, often asymptomatic. Common liver diseases include cirrhosis, steatosis, acute liver failure, and viral hepatitis, gallstones, and cancer.
Symptoms of a sick liver include loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and jaundice. Ignoring these signals may pose a serious threat to health and life.
If you are at risk of liver disease, you should have preventive examinations at least once a year.
What can you test?
- Liver tests: ALT, AST, ALP, GGTP – basic parameters of the liver condition, assess the activity of liver enzymes in the blood.
- Total bilirubin – is caused by the breakdown of red blood cells in the liver, and its increased levels cause yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes, i.e. jaundice.
- Albumin – a protein produced by the liver, responsible for the transport of substances in the body and the maintenance of normal oncotic pressure in blood vessels. Loss of albumin occurs in severe liver disease and damage. Symptoms of albumin deficiency may be edema and ascites.
- Cholinesterase – a liver enzyme that determines the liver’s ability to produce proteins.
- Prothrombin index – a blood clotting test, the disturbances of which may indicate liver disorders.
- HBs antigen – test for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
- HCV – test for hepatitis C virus infection.
Remember to monitor the condition of your liver, even if you consider yourself a healthy person and you don’t have any disturbing symptoms.