The liver is one of the largest organs in the body, located in the upper right part of the abdominal cavity. The liver; has many vital functions such as storage of vitamins and minerals, production of blood coagulation factors, enzyme and protein synthesis, storage of fat and sugar, removal of alcohol, drugs, and toxic substances from the body. Because of all these, a healthy liver is needed for a healthy life.
The liver undertakes many critical vital functions. The liver has main parts: synthesizing proteins and fats, storing carbohydrates and fats, producing bile, and storing iron and vitamins such as A, D, E, K. Nutrition is the set of integrated processes in which cells, tissues, organs, and the whole body receive energy and nutrients to maintain standard structure and perform necessary functions.
When we look at the frequently encountered problems today, it is observed that liver disorders occur due to not eating right. More well-structured approaches are being taken to establish safe and consistent nutritional diagnoses, especially in patients with liver disease. Some issues should be considered throughout life to protect liver health. Avoiding alcohol and cigarettes and unnecessary drug use, exercising regularly, staying away from stress, having regular health checks, and eating a healthy diet are among these. In particular, implementing an unhealthy eating plan causes fatigue and lubrication of the liver and damages the organ. Therefore, it is essential to take care of liver health to lead a healthy life.
Importance of Liver
The importance of the liver in terms of human health does not end with counting; therefore, it is imperative to have a healthy liver. The liver has hundreds of functions in the human body. Some of those:
- Making the food we have taken usable by the body
- Breaking down the molecules in the blood coming from the digestive system and turning them into molecules can be used and stored in the body.
- Sending valuable molecules from the digestive system to other cells through the blood
- Sending useless molecules to the kidneys.
- Regulating fat, protein, and sugar metabolism
The main task of the liver is to process nutrients taken through the blood.
Damage to the liver, which has many functions in the body, causes various diseases. However, the symptoms of these disorders may not manifest themselves at the initial stage. To prevent diseases, it is essential to diagnose the condition before it progresses.
The liver has a remarkable capacity to regenerate itself after many diseases. But in some cases, the liver can be irreversibly damaged. This situation can result from inherited abnormalities, excessive alcohol and drug use, cancer, or infectious viruses that cause hepatitis (liver inflammation). The most common liver diseases are as follows:
- Alcohol-induced fatty liver
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Acute and chronic viral hepatitis
- Toxic hepatitis
- Liver cysts
- Liver cancer
When liver disease is mentioned, cirrhosis and viral hepatitis come to mind first. Although the symptoms may vary according to the condition, the common symptoms of liver diseases are as follows.
- Jaundice: It first starts in the whites of the eyes and then appears on the skin. The reason is the accumulation of bilirubin in the skin that cannot be excreted with bile.
- Abdominal pain and swelling of the abdomen (accumulation of fluid called ascites)
- Edema of the Legs and Ankles (decreased albumin synthesis, hypoalbuminemia)
- Itching on the skin: In the patient with jaundice, bile salts also accumulate on the skin. This causes a very annoying itching. The patient’s body is full of itching marks.
- Dark, Tea-Colored Urine: Increased (accumulated) bilirubin in the blood is excreted in the urine and stains the urine red.
- Pale Stool Color: The substance that gives stool its color is bilirubin. When bilirubin cannot be excreted with bile, the color of the stool becomes lighter.
- Blood in the stool (Gastrointestinal System Bleeding): Clotting factors cannot be produced enough in liver diseases. Therefore, there is a tendency to bleed all over the body. Bleeding in the stool can be fresh blood (hematochezia) or digested blood (melena).
- Chronic Fatigue
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Ecchymosis (bruising, bruises) occurs quickly on the body.
- Detection of Liver Disease
Liver Function Tests are a group of biochemistry tests to understand the health status of the liver. It is used to diagnose liver diseases also in the follow-up of liver diseases (e.g. hepatitis). The response of the disease to treatment and the prognosis of the disease is monitored. It is also essential to have normal liver function tests when drugs that are metabolized by the liver should be used. The most commonly performed blood tests are:
- Serum Bilirubin
- Serum Albumin
- Serum Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
- Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
- Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)
- Prothrombin Time (PT)
- Gamma-glutamyl Transpeptidase (GGT)
- Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
- Mitochondrial Antibodies (AMA)
Liver disease can be detected by liver function tests, which include urinalysis along with blood tests. These tests measure protein or enzyme levels in the blood or urine to determine how well the liver functions, including bilirubin clearance, protein production, and many other values.
What You Can Do / What Precautions You Can Take to Keep Your Liver Healthy
Protecting liver health is of great importance in terms of lifespan and quality. The most basic way to keep the liver healthy is to pay attention to all the foods consumed and the daily diet. Avoiding alcohol is one of the most significant precautions to take. Regular alcohol consumption directly damages the liver, and damage that progresses over the years can lead to liver cirrhosis or cancer development.
To protect liver health :
- Alcohol consumption should be stopped.
- Since obesity will cause fatty liver, it should be kept at an ideal weight. To lose weight, changes should be made in the diet. For this, emphasis should be placed on a Mediterranean-type diet. Sugar-rich foods, fast food products, foods containing saturated fat should be reduced. Bread, desserts, rice, pasta, french fries, fatty sauces, fatty meats, and sugary drinks should be avoided or consumed as little as possible.
- It should be fed with a nutrient-rich diet that does not contain excessive calories and is low in saturated and trans fats.
- Foods with additives such as salami, sausage, fatty fries, ready-made fruit juices and fast food should be avoided.
- Exercise for 30 minutes a day at least four days a week
- If you have diabetes, insulin resistance, and cholesterol disease, the given diet and treatments should be followed.
- Unnecessary antibiotics, painkillers, and herbal treatments should not be used.
- Hepatitis B vaccine is one of the vaccines made in childhood. Individuals who have not been vaccinated against hepatitis B should be vaccinated.
- Since viral hepatitis diseases are transmitted by blood and sexual intercourse; avoid using a common toothbrush and razor blade and having unprotected sexual intercourse.
How can urine provide information about the Liver?
The liver metabolizes harmful substances and is responsible for transporting the by-products formed in the liver to the bile or blood. After the products come to the bile, they enter the intestine and leave the body in feces. On the other hand, Blood by-products are filtered by the kidneys and leave the body in the form of urine. Any problem with all this physiological flow can cause biomarkers such as bilirubin and urobilinogen in the urine, indicating liver disease. It is recommended that these tests be done when signs of liver disease begin to appear. If bilirubin and urobilinogen are detected in the urine, it may indicate a problem with the liver. Color changes in the urine may be a sign that there may be a problem in the liver. For example, in liver and gallbladder diseases, the urine is orange, and the stool is yellowish. There is also yellowing on the skin of the patients. When faced with such a situation, it is necessary to see a specialist doctor. All liver function tests are usually evaluated together to diagnose the disease.
How does Vivoo measure and track liver function?
Urine is a significant health indicator for many diseases, including those that problems in our livers can cause. The liver is also a secretory gland. The liver, which can both expand and renew itself, undertakes many critical vital functions. However, if the liver is damaged, serious problems can occur in the body.
Vivoo’s liver parameter measures the level of bilirubin in the urine. In addition, low bilirubin may occur due to oxygen deficiency, and some medications. On the other hand, the causes of elevated bilirubin levels may be factors such as anemia, cirrhosis, blood transfusion reaction, viral hepatitis, reaction to drugs and alcohol-related liver diseases, gallstones, along diseases that cause decreased liver functions.
Related: Vivoo Liver Box
What Does Vivoo Measure?
Urine tests can measure the level of bilirubin in the urine. Bilirubin is a substance released during the body’s normal process of breaking down red blood cells and is found in bile, which helps the liver to digest food. If the liver is healthy, excess bilirubin will be removed from the body. Still, if your liver is damaged and unhealthy, bilirubin can leak into the blood and urine. Bilirubin is the urine can be a sign of liver disease.
Vivoo measures the level of bilirubin in your urine to monitor liver function. It checks for potential risks that may affect the optimal condition of the liver and provides nutritional advice.
What does the presence of bilirubin in urine indicate?
Bilirubin is a yellowish substance that is produced during the body’s process of breaking down red blood cells. This substance is found in the liver and is normally excreted from the body during digestion. If the liver is damaged, bilirubin can leak into the blood and urine. Bilirubin is the urine can be a sign of liver disease. In this case, the bilirubin test is applied to measure the amount of bilirubin in the blood or urine.
High bilirubin levels occur when too much bilirubin is produced (usually due to increased hemolysis) or when the liver does not have the capacity to remove bilirubin in a timely and adequate manner due to liver diseases such as biliary obstruction, cirrhosis, acute hepatitis, or inherited problems in bilirubin metabolism.