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Liver Awareness Month

What does your liver do? Why is it important? How does liver cancer vary? Can Children get it too? What are symptoms and treatment?

Your liver is just one of the many vital organs in your body. It’s responsible for filtering your blood and getting rid of anything awful, before sending your blood back to the rest of your body, the liver also breaks down old and damaged blood cells.Your liver produces proteins that aid in blood clotting, meaning that if you get cut, you wont bleed out, depending on the wound. In the metabolic process, the liver also plays an essential roll, breaking down fat and producing energy. The liver takes vitamins and minerals from food we eat, and turns them into substances that our bodies can use as well.

Yes, liver cancer can be found in children and adults. The most common type of liver cancer(or disease) is called Cirrhosis, which is different in children and adults as well. Cirrhosis of the liver is a disease that causes the loss of liver cells and irreversible scarring. The scar tissue blocks blood flow, and allows waste to build up in the body. The liver is one organ that can heal itself on its own, but as scar tissue forms, complications arise causing Cirrhosis. In adults the leading cause of Cirrhosis, is chronic alcohol abuse. When someone drinks so heavily on a daily, or weekly basis, the liver doesn’t have enough time to filter out the bad from the good. There are other causes of Cirrhosis too, such as extra iron build up, genetic, or inherited disorders, a fatty liver( non- alcoholic),liver disease formed by your body’s immune system, infections and medication.

Children can also get Cirrhosis of the liver, from different factors. The child inherit it through a fatty liver, genetics, and autoimmune diseases. Cystic fibrosis, a condition where water and salt can’t move through cells properly, Wilson’s Disease, which is a rare disorder, where large and abnormal amount of copper build up in the brain and liver. There are a few drugs and toxins that can cause a child to get Cirrhosis, excess vitamin A, isoniazid (an antibiotic to treat tuberculosis), and methotrexate, a drug commonly used for Arthritis and severe psoriasis.

The symptoms of Cirrhosis in children and adults are pretty similar with few differences. Both experience, loss of body hair, spidery looking veins, enlarged liver and spleen, water retention in the abdomen and legs, vomiting blood, infections, itching, tremors, reddened palms, confusion, yellowing skin, bleeding, fatigue, nausea, weight loss, and more. Men can experience breast enlargement, and testicular atrophy as well. Although Cirrhosis cannot be cured or reversed, it can be treated and prevented. Treatment can include, controlling and finding the cause of the damage, through blood tests, ultrasounds and liver biopsy’s, prevention of additional damage, and treating the underlying cause of the condition. To prevent Cirrhosis and other liver disease, it's best to eat a healthy diet, maintain healthy weight, and laying back on drinking alcohol. Treat your liver kindly, it can only repair itself for so long.

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