Liver disease is one of the leading killers in higher-income countries. In Great Britain alone, over 40 people die each day from some form of liver disease. The reason it leads to so many deaths is that the disease is often diagnosed at a late stage when nothing can be done.
In a survey of liver disease patients, it was found that 25% were diagnosed when it was too late and there were little to no treatment options left. 20% of liver patients were actually sent home by doctors initially because they found no problems.
The problem is that many symptoms of live disease go unnoticed in the early stages. There are really two types of liver disease. Those caused by alcohol and those caused by a poor diet and lack of exercise. Preventing liver disease is therefore pretty straightforward but most people just don’t follow the guidelines.
If you are diagnosed as overweight, which a large proportion of the population are, losing 10% of your body weight can actually reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Essentially by losing weight and increasing the amount you exercise over time you can reduce the amount of fat in your liver.
Change your attitude to drink
In some cultures drinking alcohol, every day is common. Ending the night with a couple of beers or glasses of wine is a normal behavior in many societies but it is not healthy. Doctors now advise that you must have three or more days a week where you drink no alcohol. This will give your liver the opportunity to repair any damage that has been done.
In addition, the amount of alcohol you drink in a given week is important. If you are drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week you are on a dangerous path. Keep in mind that 1 unit of alcohol is equal to around half a pint of beer. Seven beers and you have hit your weekly limit. How many people hit that within 4 hours on a Saturday?
Red meat has been shown to be linked with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Interestingly studies have not suggested that it is not only overeating that is linked to liver disease but what you are eating. This means that if you are eating the correct quantity of food but a high proportion of it is red meat, you are still in danger.
Red meat should only be consumed once or twice a week. At other times you should try to eat more chicken and grains.
It sounds obvious but it is worth saying anyway. Exercise reduces the risk of liver disease greatly. Swimming has been shown to be one of the best forms of exercise for the body as it is low impact, cardio and muscle building. However, find a form of exercise that you enjoy and ensure you are exercising four to five times a week.
Sleep is incredibly important for people’s health. If you are not getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night you are shortening your lifespan. It is as simple as that. People are so willing to cut back on sleep to ensure they can watch an extra hour of television, fit in gym time, or work late. Yet they don’t realize what they are trading by doing this. It has been shown that even for physical performance by having 6 hours of sleep you are reducing your ability to perform by 20% to 30%.
The frustrating thing about liver diseases and other similar health conditions is that they are so easy to solve. Eat relatively healthy, don’t drink too much, and get a good night’s sleep. None of this is difficult. No one is asking you to climb a mountain, no one is asking you to drastically change your life. By incorporating these small changes you can live a long and happy life. Make the required changes today.