CAN WE FIND OUT IF YOUR LIVER IS HEALTHY?
The liver is a very silent organ. Most of its diseases are asymptomatic. On many occasions, the first symptoms appear in very advanced stages. We can only know with certainty that the liver is healthy after a thorough examination by a hepatologist (a specialist in liver and bile duct diseases). In order to find any possible problem, a specific analysis and an ultrasound scan with various determinations and unusual measurements must be performed to, among others, study the blood circulation in the abdomen and detect possible scars (fibrosis) in the liver. On many occasions, a simple analysis (transaminases and bilirubin) is useful for detecting very evident and clear anomalies, but it is not enough to assess in detail or sufficient certainty and security as this organ is found, so important for the life and well-being of the patient.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF LIVER DISEASE?
The better known diseases such as fatty liver, hepatitis or cirrhosis are often asymptomatic. In some cases there may be excessive tiredness or discomfort in the right upper abdomen. In others, the patient may turn yellow (skin, inside of the mouth and whites of the eyes). The latter is a typical sign of liver disease, but can be seen both in minor illnesses that last a few days and in very serious illnesses. Other typical symptoms of failure in liver function are the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, alterations in brain function (from very slight alterations to deep coma), digestive bleeding and alterations in blood coagulation, among others. When they appear, they indicate advanced disease, but the medicine of the XXI century has multiple methods to detect alterations in much earlier phases and thus to be able to avoid reaching that situation. There are also specific treatments for each problem, and this should be evaluated by an experienced hepatologist.
IS IT REALLY AN IMPORTANT ORGAN?
The liver is the largest organ in the human body and its functions would be equivalent to those of a large laboratory or factory. The way to understand its importance is to see what happens when it suddenly stops working, without giving the body time to adjust to the changes. Basically, if this happens, and the patient does not receive an urgent liver transplant, then almost every system in the body fails. Fortunately, this situation is very rare and usually occurs due to overdose of some medications, ingestion of poisonous mushrooms or some viruses. This organ is so resistant that it can repair and regenerate itself or solve any problems it may have. It is tremendously strong and in many cases it does not present symptoms until it can no longer do so and there is considerable accumulated damage.
ARE THERE MANY FALSE MYTHS ABOUT THE LIVER?
Due to the complexity of liver function and the need for specialists to be highly specialized, it is common for some details not to be detected by many physicians. Knowing this, it is easy to imagine the amount of incorrect myths that circulate on the Internet, television, non-scientific or pseudoscientific literature and even that some health professionals promulgate and that have no relation whatsoever with the functioning of the liver. Some of the best known and most widespread are:
- Liver and gallbladder cleansing or the elimination of toxins to cure one or the other ailment.
- Negligible liver lesions are frequently monitored and controlled with imaging tests for years with significant psychological and economic cost.
- The relationship of alcohol and drugs, especially with antibiotics, with liver diseases, there are many statements and recommendations that are not based on any known data or simply not interpreted correctly.
- The relation between cirrhosis and alcoholism. A large part of the population associates the word cirrhosis with alcoholism. Not only alcohol, but any long-term liver disease can cause cirrhosis. There are also people who, not being alcoholics, develop liver cirrhosis due to the effects of alcohol.
WHAT CAN CLÍNICA DKF DO FOR THE HEALTH OF MY LIVER?
At Clínica DKF we not only have the means to diagnose and treat common problems, but also the latest technology to carry out more complex and precise diagnoses in order to establish the correct treatment and be able to clearly and safely inform the patient about their liver.
Therefore, it is necessary that a liver specialist informs you of any doubts you may have, considers any symptoms or offers you a second opinion, if necessary.
At Clínica DKF the same Hepatologist will take care of your case from beginning to end and will perform practically all the studies or procedures you need for an integral and personal follow-up.
In case of needing the opinion of other doctors, we will contact you by personal letter so that you can only be seen by the greatest experts in this field at a national or international level, depending on what the patient needs and the importance of each case.
In our clinic we apply to each patient all our resources that you need to provide the best possible care and to solve your problem in the fastest and most effective way.
In addition, at Clínica DKF we encourage clinical research into the problems we treat, apply the latest existing treatments and collaborate with patient associations and scientific societies to maintain the level of excellence that exists in the best centres and that we believe we should provide to our patients.