October is Liver Awareness Month
So, just how “aware” are you?
Did you know your liver is your largest organ? It’s bigger than your brain—about the size of a football. You can live without your tonsils, your appendix, a lung, a kidney, even your spleen—but your liver, forget it—you need it! Your liver is one of the hardest working organs in your body too. Simply put, your liver does three main things: it helps your body digest stuff, make protein and get rid of bad stuff.
One of the most amazing things about your liver though, is that it’s the only organ in your body that can regenerate itself. You can donate a portion of your liver to another person and your liver will grow back to its normal size. The portion of the liver that is donated and transplanted will grow to normal size too.
Did you know that many liver diseases aren’t the result of excessive drinking? These are known as non-alcoholic liver disease. Some of the factors that will put you at risk for non-alcoholic liver disease are obesity (fatty liver disease), long-term use of certain drugs (avoid excessive use of over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen) and exposure to industrial toxins. Certain liver diseases can even be inherited
Some liver diseases, such as autoimmune hepatitis
and primary biliary cholangitis
Some people may have liver disease and not even know it, so next time you see your doctor, ask for a simple liver function blood test. Like any other disease, the earlier you catch it, the more options you have for treating it.
October is Liver Awareness Month, but be aware of your liver year round. Appreciate your liver and reward its hard work—be active, watch your weight, eat right and limit your alcohol use.