The liver is indispensable as the "metabolic center" of the body. It is therefore important to take the greatest possible care of this largest internal organ. In particular, alcohol, smoking, drug abuse and obesity are risk factors that can lead to severe liver disease. Prof. Dr. Schafer pointed out that. Dr. Thomas Poralla, Medical Director of the St. Joseph Hospital and expert on the liver and digestive organs, drew attention to this during a lecture at the Urania Berlin. The liver has numerous functions for the metabolic balance in the body. Is normally very resistant. Among other things, it absorbs sugar, fatty acids and proteins from food, converts them and passes them on to the cells, for example as proteins. Detoxification is also a vital task, allowing harmful substances to be excreted via the kidneys or bile.
But even an organ as robust as the liver can be damaged if it has to process too many harmful substances in the long term. Unfortunately, hospitalizations for chronic liver disease have increased at an above-average rate over the past 15 years compared to heart and lung diseases, which are also very common. The death rate from severe liver disease is also comparatively high. More than 20 people die each year in Germany.000 people die of liver cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma.
High risk from alcohol abuse
A common cause of severe liver disease is alcohol abuse. For example, the mortality rate for alcohol-related liver cirrhosis is between 58 and 85 percent within five years. Alcohol-related fatty liver disease leads to death within a month in many cases. Absolute abstinence from alcohol, a healthy diet rich in proteins and vitamins, and an integrated treatment concept are therefore indispensable for recovery. More people are at risk than you might think. In a healthy liver, physicians consider an amount of 30 grams of alcohol for men (15 g for women) to be harmless. This corresponds to just half a liter of beer or a glass of wine daily.
Eating too much and too fatty food can also lead to a fatty liver. Particularly in conjunction with smoking, the risk of severe, possibly even fatal, disease increases. Weight reduction, abstinence from smoking, physical training, discontinuation of medication if necessary, careful regulation of the sugar level in the case of diabetes mellitus and the consumption of two cups of coffee a day are helpful.
Caution also with medicines and natural remedies
Drugs are also a high risk factor. More than 600 drugs can have side effects that damage the liver in individual cases. Therefore, 15 to 40 percent of all acute liver failures are due to the, often inappropriate, use of medications. Worryingly, there is an increase in liver damage caused by dietary supplements and remedies taken without a doctor's prescription. These include traditional Indian or African remedies and herbal teas that contain so-called pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
Another danger for the liver is hepatitis. The main forms of hepatitis – A, B, C and E – can each result in dangerous liver diseases. Liver transplantation as a last resort for a serious illness is little consolation. Due to shortage of donor organs, patients in Germany are transplanted only when disease is very advanced. This reduces the survival rate.