Liver damage is a common ailment that many people face in today’s times. Liver issues affect people of all age groups. The disease can be caused due to several reasons that range from hereditary patterns to lifestyle choices. In most cases, liver disease is treatable with medicines and lifestyle changes. However, in extreme cases, a liver transplant may be advised, depending on the condition and age of the patient. This article talks about liver disease, its symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, and how a health insurance plan can help you if you are suffering from liver damage.
What are the symptoms of liver disease?
Some of the most commonly found symptoms of liver damage include the following:
- Tiredness or lethargy
- A low or decreased appetite
- Nose bleeding
- Weight loss
- Swelling in legs, ankle, or feet
- Itching on your skin
- Stomach pain
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Dark urine
- Pale stools
- Nausea or vomiting
What are the reasons that lead to liver disease?
Liver disease can be caused by a number of factors. These include:
Hepatitis viruses can lead to liver damage. These viruses include:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
These viruses can enter your body through blood, food, or water. They can also affect you if you have come in close contact with an infected person by being in proximity to them or through sexual activities. Hepatitis viruses can cause inflammation in the liver and impact liver function.
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- Abnormalities in the immune system Autoimmune diseases can also attack your liver and hamper its functioning. Some common autoimmune diseases include primary biliary cholangitis, autoimmune hepatitis, primary sclerosis cholangitis, etc.
- Cancer Cancers like liver or bile duct cancer, liver adenoma, etc., are some types of cancers that can target the liver and lead to liver disease.
- Lifestyle factors like alcohol consumption Chronic alcohol abuse is a primary cause of liver damage. Excessive use of alcohol has been linked to liver as well as kidney issues. It can also lead to many other health problems.
- Hereditary reasons like genetics The genes you inherit from your parents can also cause liver damage. Sometimes an abnormal gene can result in a build-up on or around your liver. These conditions include hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, or alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
- Overconsumption of over the counter medicines Excessive use of over the counter medicines can also adversely affect your liver function, leading to its deterioration.
- Accumulation of fat in the liver Dietary and unhealthy lifestyle choices can cause fat accumulation around the liver.
- Obesity Obesity has been directly linked to liver disease. Your eating and exercise habits can play a crucial role in your liver’s health.
- Type 2 diabetes People with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of liver disease than those who do not suffer from this health condition.
- Injecting drugs with shared needles or contact with someone else’s blood or body fluids Using shared needles or coming in contact with an infected person’s blood or other bodily fluids can also lead to liver disease.
What are the different ways to diagnose liver disease?
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above or find yourself in any of the situations that may lead to liver disease, you should visit a doctor and have your liver checked. Your doctor can use one of the many ways to detect damage in your liver, as stated below:
- A blood test A blood test is the first thing that your doctor may use to check the health of your liver. You may have to get a test on an empty stomach. You can consult your doctor and get an appointment for a blood test accordingly.
- An ultrasound, an Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, or a computerized tomography (CT) scan The doctor may recommend this after your blood test’s report indicates some signs of liver disease. Imaging tests like an ultrasound, an MRI, or a CT scan are effective in detecting the extent of liver damage in your body.
- Tissue samples Tissue samples from your liver can also be used to find signs of liver damage. This is also known as a biopsy.
How can you prevent liver disease?
Although not all the factors stated above are in your hand, you can do some things to prevent liver disease, such as:
- Limit your alcohol consumption: High use of alcohol can lead to many health issues. Therefore, it may be advised to drink alcohol in moderation. Sticking to one to two drinks in a day is generally considered safe for adults. However, you can consult a doctor or a dietician to know the appropriate amount of alcohol for your age and weight.
- Be careful around people: Unprotected sexual intercourse, using shared needles, etc. can cause liver damage. Make sure to ensure hygiene at all times. This can be done by using a condom during sex, not using shared needles white getting a tattoo or a body piercing, etc.
- Do not take over the counter medicines without consulting a doctor: Self-medication can cause more issues in the long run as compared to the temporary relief they provide in the short term. It may be recommended to never take medicine without a doctor’s prescription.
- Get vaccinated: Hepatitis can be cured with the right vaccination. You can get yourself vaccinated and avoid further damage to your liver.
- Avoid contact with other people’s blood or body fluids: Maintaining hygiene and cleanliness can go a long way in ensuring your good health. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, ensure that you maintain a safe distance from the other person’s blood or body fluids.
- Eat healthy: Eating fresh and clean vegetables and fruits can be good for your overall health. Paying attention to little details like washing your hands before a meal, drinking clean water, etc. can keep you away from any kind of liver issues.
- Adequate exercise: Doctors recommend exercise for your holistic wellbeing. Exercise helps to keep your weight in check, which ultimately reduces your chances of getting liver disease.
- Get regular checkups: If you have a history of liver disease in your family or lead an unhealthy lifestyle, regular health checkups can help detect liver disease in its nascent stage. The sooner a disease is detected, the sooner it can be treated. Hence, eliminating the need for aggressive treatments and medicines later.
How can health insurance help liver patients?
Liver disease is a common ailment. The costs of treatment for liver issues can be astronomical and long term. Right from the diagnostic tests to the medicines and, in some cases, surgery, hospital bills can pile up faster than you can imagine. However, a health insurance policy can help you cover these costs. A health insurance plan can be used to pay for the doctor’s fees, room rent at the hospital, cost of medicines, ambulance fees, pre and post hospitalization expenses, and a lot more. The lump-sum payouts can offer increased liquidity at a time when you need to focus on your health and not the expenses.
Health Insurance by Kotak Life
Kotak health insurance plan is a great policy that can protect you against the high costs of healthcare in the country. The Kotak Health Shield plan offers wholesome protection against liver disease. The plan offers four kinds of protections that include:
- Cancer Shield
- Cardiac Shield
- Livo Shield
- Neuro Shield
In addition to this, the Kotak Health Shield plan also offers the following benefits:
- A daily hospitalization cash benefit
- A waiver of premium benefit on being diagnosed with a minor health condition
- An income benefit of being diagnosed with a major health condition, including liver transplant, fulminant viral hepatitis, and end-stage liver failure.
To sum it up
Liver disease can compromise your quality of life and lead to many hassles. However, it is important to remember that it can be prevented to a great extent. By paying attention to your health and making conscious lifestyle choices, you can ensure that you lead a healthy life for a long time. Regular health checkups are also important as they can help detect the disease at the right time. This way, you can start taking the necessary steps before the problem gets out of hand.
Above all, a health insurance plan can be crucial here as it can cover the costs of these health checkups. Moreover, if you contract the disease, you can use your health insurance plan to cover the costs of treatment and pre and post-hospitalisation expenses.