|Your hard working liver!|
When dealing with hep c, it is important for us to have a working knowledge of how the liver functions. If you are like me, you read and listen to your doctor, but the information can end up in a tangled balled up mess in your mind. It is not easy to digest a lot, especially when you're sick. Let's try to break it down for those of us who are medical terminology impaired. Liver disease is a broad term that encompasses many illnesses. One example is fatty liver, another is alcoholic cirrhosis. The damage can be the same. First of all we need to know how hep c can affect the liver. We all feel like students trying to decipher words and phrases. Please remember - We do not have to know everything today. There are always experts to give us information regarding symptoms, lab and X Ray results, and treatment. By keeping our short term memory for all of the things that we personally need to treat and survive, we find it easier to ask others about the things that do not stick in our brain. It's okay to ask, and ask again for the more complicated questions that arise.
|Thanks to our hard working liver|
On this note, I give my liver a hug. It works sooo hard and has for years. It has silently endured a real beating and keeps right on filtering for me as well as it can. I wrap my left arm around my right side and give it a big THANKS!
Back to the liver lesson: The scar tissue, or fibrosis, eventually bind and restrict blood vessels in the liver. The biggest concern is the main Portal Valve that takes blood into the liver to get filtered. Mine was severely restricted upon diagnosis. My blood actually backed up toward my heart and caused esophageal varices. Remember the oil filter analogy? When an oil filter has been ignored, it clogs. Like in a car, no clean oil means engine sludge, increased engine wear, burning oil, and finally engine seizure. The same is true of your liver. The longer you have the virus, the more accelerated the process becomes. While we all have individual genetic or lifestyle components, it basically works the same way. No one with hepatitis c avoids a breakdown of the liver.
The liver is like a factory that transforms proteins and sugars. It removes extra sugars from our intestines and store them as glycogen. There, that glycogen sits, waiting in the liver until our body needs some energy. If our body does not need them, we put on weight. So that's how that works. It makes sense that if the liver is impaired; the blood sugar regulation gets out of kilter. We can end up with symptoms of hyperglycemia and yet have no weight gain. It can be a cause of diabetes or make diabetes worse for those who have it. When looking back on all the times I did not feel good after a protein or carbohydrate loaded meal, it begins to make sense. My transformer was blown! I'm sure you too are beginning to understand the delicate balance of how vital the liver is to nutrition. Eating good sources of protein and carbohydrates in the right amounts and at the right time is crucial. Do not think that you have to know it all today. Read my nutrition and recipe pages. I'll walk you through it.
The liver is also like a warehouse that stores vitamins, sugars, fats, nutrients, and more. It converts all of these things into something our body can use. The liver then releases them into the bloodstream as the body needs them. It silently inventories our blood levels and orders what we need. Then it delivers it on time! It can actually take fats and proteins and turn them into usable glucose. The cool part is that we do not have to do a thing. It is a silent partner in keeping us stocked up and moving. Yeah. I'm saying thanks again. I never knew how much we needed the liver to live until 2010. It is an amazing organ.
Finally, the liver is like a recycling station that breaks down chemicals in our bodies that cannot be used. It discards things that our body does not need. Into the liver goes all the toxins that our body encounters daily from the environment or from our lifestyle. The liver takes all of these toxins and creates bile. Then it is shipped off to the gallbladder where it is stored. This toxin filled bile contains some extra fats and sugars and basically anything your body does not need. This amazing organ actually takes any poison we throw at it and turns it into water or bile that can be eliminated through our urine or intestines! I'll repeat: That includes everything you eat, drink, inhale, or put on your skin. We need to be aware of our lifestyle because that includes food, drinks, work environment, hobbies, skin care products and a host of other factors. It does not take those of us with liver disease long to figure out that hair color, shampoo, paint, fuel, smog and a large assortment of other items we expose ourselves to daily can tax the liver and cause more damage. The less recycling the liver has to do, the better we feel daily and the less damage we create long term.
Now that we understand how important the liver is to our body, the hep c virus takes on new meaning. Hep c causes inflammation of the liver. There is no getting around the fact that if you have it, your liver will degenerate. Getting a good diagnosis and medical treatment is crucial no matter when, how, or where you got the disease.
|I love this piggie pic!|