Liver: detect disorders and damage early

The liver is the central organ of human metabolism. It plays a crucial role in nutrient utilization, storage and depletion and produces many important substances such as coagulation proteins and antibodies.

As a major detoxification organ, it is exposed to a multitude of damaging influences and has an enormous regenerative capacity. Since it also sends out hardly any pain signals, damage to the liver is often noticeable late.

Dr. med. Vinzenz Mansmann, chief physician of NaturaMed Kliniken, answers the most frequently asked questions about the prevention of liver diseases:

When you think about your day-to-day practice - how much do patients know about their liver?

VM: Unfortunately, many people do not know their liver at all and only a part of them know that it is right below the ribs. It has over 370 departments, 500 billion cells and is the body's big chemical plant. Unfortunately or luckily she has no pain nerves, otherwise every sip of alcohol would hurt. But a saying goes like this: "The pain of the liver is fatigue."

Significantly, there is often a deceptive safety when the family doctor makes the 3 known liver enzymes GOT, GPT and GGT. If they are normal, that does not mean that all 370 liver departments are in order. The gall bladder, which is the reservoir of the liver, has many pain nerves and a pinched gallstone can cause terrible colic, which will drive you to the doctor very quickly.

How can you tell yourself if the liver is okay?

VM: As mentioned, a weak or sick liver makes you tired, especially after lunch - then you almost need a nap. In the evening many will have to sleep in front of the TV. In the night, however, according to the 2000-year-old acupuncture the main working time of the liver is from 1 to 3 o'clock and at a certain level of damage you have exactly at this time sleep disturbances. It can also be 4 o'clock if the liver has not gone through the summer time changeover. Many liver signs can be read but already on the face:

  • brownish edges around the eyes like after a night of drinking
  • small yellowish fat around the eyes (Xanthelasmen)
  • yellowish-brown discoloration around the mouth
  • punctate hemorrhages on the cheeks (petechiae)
  • yellowish discoloration of the white of the eyes ("jaundice")

Spiderweb-like vascular dilations (Spider naevi) are sometimes found on the body, which can also indicate a liver disease. Liver disorders can also cause itching on the skin and tingling, even without an allergy. Also "nettle rashes" (urticaria) have something to do with the liver and can heal through a liver treatment again.

How do liver problems still manifest?

VM: The most common signs are bloating, bloating, constipation or diarrhea - sometimes alternating, fat intolerance, alcohol intolerance. Relatively rarely does a feeling of pressure exist under the right costal arch, especially when lying down or bending over, when a bile or gallbladder inflammation is present at the same time.

Since the liver is responsible for the hormone degradation, often occur in unrecognized liver diseases such as decreased libido or potency disorders, breast approach in men and especially migraine.

What are first aid measures for liver protection?

VM: The best plant for liver regeneration is the milk thistle (Carduus marianus) and the artichoke (Cynaria scolymus). Milk thistle as a tea is very bitter and is not kept by the patients for a long time, so you should prefer capsules, because you should take them usually a whole year.

What can be done to keep his liver preventive and permanently healthy?

VM: Of course, omit alcohol, eat a low-fat diet and, above all, reduce stress and excessive demands. Most of today's liver diseases are stress-related and are the result of swallowed-up trouble. "The bile comes up to you" or "It has run a louse on the liver" says the vernacular.

Who needs to pay special attention to his liver?

VM: Of course the alcoholics, but that's clear. Not so well known is that stress and anger often causes much more liver damage than alcohol, and that vegetarians cause fermentation in the gut by eating large amounts of raw food in the evening for many years. So after 19.00 o'clock as little raw food as salads and raw vegetables eat.

Anyone who has ever undergone jaundice, ie hepatitis A, B or C, usually tolerates only one third as much alcohol as a healthy one. This so-called "jaundice" can also have gone undetected, because young and healthy people do not become yellow with hepatitis but are only tired for 3 months.

In addition, there are also other viruses, such as the Ebstein-Barr virus, Pfeiffer's disease, which often causes unrecognized liver inflammation and can leave lifelong damage there. However, this can be closely examined by the doctor in the blood, if specifically indicated. Attention, these are expensive examinations that are not included in the normal family doctor budget.

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