4 GOOD REASONS TO HAVE YOUR LIVER FUNCTION TESTED
Your liver is amazing! It is the second-largest organ in your body (your skin takes the top spot!) and it has the greatest regenerative capacity of any organ! It is so amazing that doctors are able to perform “living-donor transplants.” That means that surgeons can remove a portion of a living donor’s healthy liver and place it into a patient who needs a new one. After the surgery, the donor’s liver regenerates to full size, while the patient’s new liver also grows to normal size.
Maybe we tend to take our liver’s health for granted because it is so amazing! But your local Lifecare Diagnostics location wants you to be aware that your liver is too important to take for granted. While you’re going about your busy day, your liver is busy —
- Cleaning your blood of toxins.
- Producing bile for your digestion.
- Processing what you eat and drink into nutrients.
- Filtering out harmful substances from your blood.
And that’s just SOME of what your liver does. Knowing all the work the liver performs should make you determined to take care of it, but some people should take extra care because they are at an increased risk.
YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT
One of the domino effects of the obesity epidemic is something commonly known as “nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.” As the name implies, the disease results when too much fat is stored in liver cells. In the United States, it is the most common form of chronic liver disease, affecting an estimated 80 to 100 million people. It should be noted that you could develop fatty liver disease and NOT be overweight as well.
YOU DRINK (OR DRANK) ALCOHOL
Here’s the thing about alcohol and your liver: they really don’t mix well. And because we each have our own biochemistry, how alcohol affects Jack’s liver will be different than how it affects Jill’s. Whether it’s three or four drinks a day or weekend binges, the toxic effects of alcohol on your liver usually develop over time, so testing can be crucial.
YOU ARE A BABY BOOMER
According to the CDC, people born from 1945–1965 are five times more likely to have Hepatitis C than other adults. What’s worse — most people with the disease do not know they are infected. They can go for decades without symptoms while their livers are slowly under attack. The reason baby boomers have such high rates of Hep C isn’t completely understood, but researchers theorize that many were infected from medical equipment or procedures before universal precautions were adopted or from receiving contaminated blood before screening eliminated the virus in the 1990s.
YOU TAKE MEDICINE
Liver damage is a known side effect of many medications and supplements — both prescription AND over-the-counter. Your doctor may order liver function tests to watch for possible side effects.
The Liver Function Panel at your Lifecare Diagnostics can help you take control of your health. The panel consists of seven tests. Some of the tests will look at how well your liver is working at producing protein and cleaning bilirubin waste from your blood. Others measure enzymes that the cells in your liver releases if it has been damaged or is diseased.
If your liver is under attack, you may not even know it. Symptoms can be vague until damage has progressed. The good news is that the liver is very resilient. If you are diagnosed early, you have a better chance of a positive outcome. Come in to your local Lifecare Diagnostics and let our experts help you.