Although our organs are what keep us running, we often take them for granted. So we eat unhealthy foods, don’t exercise, drink lots of alcohol, and fail to get a good night’s sleep.
Because our organs are inside of us, we can’t exactly observe the abuse our organs are taking. However, there are ways to notice when your organs aren’t working as well as they should be.
Getting to Know Your Liver
One of the most prominent organs in the body is the liver. It plays a number of vital roles such as:
Manufacturing blood proteins that aid in clotting, oxygen transport, and immune system function
Storing excess nutrients and returning some of the nutrients to the bloodstream
Manufacturing bile, a substance needed to help digest food
Helping the body store sugar (glucose) in the form of glycogen
Ridding the body of harmful substances in the bloodstream, including drugs and alcohol
Breaking down saturated fat and producing cholesterol
As you can imagine, when the liver is not functioning properly the whole body suffers. One of the most common ways that the liver takes abuse is through excessive alcohol consumption. Many people often joke about, “Drinking so hard their liver hurts.” But this is no joking matter. Cirrhosis of the liver is a common ailment that affects hundreds of thousands of people yearly if not more.
Cirrhosis of the liver is a, “late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions, such as hepatitis and chronic alcohol abuse. The liver carries out several necessary functions, including detoxifying harmful substances in your body, cleaning your blood and making vital nutrients.” (Source – Mayo Clinic)
In addition to cirrhosis, there are many other liver ailments such as ‘Fatty Liver Disease’ and Hepatitis. These are serious medical issues and should not be treated lightly. The best approach to treating these issues is to prevent them from getting out of hand. This means that you should be firmly aware of signs that your liver is in bad condition.
Here are a few common ways that your liver is in bad shape:
On the Outside of the Body
Two of the most prominent indicators of human health on the exterior of the body are the skin and the eyes.
Our skin is a physical manifestation of our insides. Because it is our first line of defense in keeping the body healthy, the skin reflects the body’s ability to fight off disease. The more bright and healthy it looks, the more capable it is of keeping the body disease-free.
When the liver is faring poorly, the skin begins to suffer quite clearly. For example, you may be familiar with ‘Jaundice’. This is a yellowing of the skin that is often associated with liver disease.
Other examples of liver damage manifesting itself on the skin is through rashes, itching, acne, and prominent blood vessels.
Just as jaundice can occur on the skin, it often occurs in the eyes. The eyes should be a healthy, crystal clear white with bright colors around the pupils; this is a sign that all is well. But when the eyes are constantly blood-shot, itchy, red, and puffy it may be a sign that your liver is in bad condition.
Other External Signs to Look For
The eyes and skin are good indicators of health because we all know what skin and eyes should ideally look like. However, in other aspects ….
Excessive Fat Build-Up
There are numerous reasons for weight gain: Poor diet, lack of exercise, unhealthy lifestyles etc. Yet, one of the underlying causes of fat gain is often an underperforming metabolism. And one of the main reasons for a failing metabolism is an unhealthy liver.
Your liver is supposed to regulate fat storage and blood sugar levels. Although when the liver is occupied with toxins and other substances, it can’t deal with blood sugar properly. In many cases these leads to what is known as fatty liver, which is when the liver begins to store fat on the liver.
Discoloration of Stool
If you notice that, “your stools are pale or clay-colored, you may have a problem with the drainage of your biliary system, which is comprised of your gallbladder, liver, and pancreas… Bile salts are released into your stools by your liver, giving the stools a brown color. If your liver is not producing enough bile, or if the flow of the bile is blocked and not draining from your liver, your stools will be pale or clay-colored.”
It is often easier to notice something is wrong when it manifests itself internally because it throws us off guard when we see something that isn’t right. But it’s just as important to be cognizant of how you’re feeling, and if anything is ailing you from within.
Here are a few things to take note of:
A Weakened Immune System
Again, when the liver is occupied with foreign toxins, it has less time to aid the body and immune system. This means a heightened sensitivity to chemicals and allergens, which may not have had a significant negative impact on the body in the past..
Pain and Swelling Of the Abdominals
Your liver is a large organ (weighing around 3 pounds) that sits in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. When the liver has to work excessively and becomes inflamed, it may cause pain and in more severe cases swelling.
If you notice consistent pain that doesn’t appear to be muscular, or any abnormal swelling, seek medical attention.
Healing Your Liver
Healing the liver often brings up images of detoxing, which is eating and drinking (or avoiding) certain foods and nutrients to allow the liver to heal. While detoxing is great for the body, the first step is to simply avoid any negative behaviors and substances.
This means cutting back on things like alcohol consumption, and eating too much junk food. Also, many prescription and over the counter medicines can cause liver damage.
Take some time to think about your lifestyle, including diet and exercise, as well as what you’re putting in your body and think about how that may be affecting your liver. Once you take the time to do so, you will definitely see the difference.