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Hepatopathies which means liver diseases,refers to the diseases of the liver in general that affects the functioning or its well being. These diseases may stop /prevent the liver from carrying out its various functions, and can eventually lead to a liver failure.

The liver helps in carrying out the various functions, they include:

* It controls blood glucose level. When the blood glucose level rises, the liver handles this by converting any excess glucose in the blood into glycogen, which is later stored. But when the blood glucose level falls below normal, the liver handles this by converting the stored glycogen into glucose and releases the required amount of the glucose into the blood.

* Protein and lipid (fat) metabolism /Deamination

* Bile production. The liver makes bile which is stored in the gall bladder and secreted into the duodenum when needed.

* Storage of vitamins, minerals and blood. It stores fat-soluble vitamins which are A, K, E and D, the water-solube vitamins, C and B.
It also stores minerals like Iron, Zinc, Copper and Potassium

* Production of heat, which helps in keeping the body warm

* Detoxification. The liver does this by converting any toxic /harmful materials into harmless substances, which are then excreted out of the body.

After having a full view on the various important functions of the liver above, it can be concluded that any malfunctioning can lead to serious complications within the body.

What are the symptoms of liver diseases ?
The symptoms of liver diseases includes :

* Jaundice {yellow coloration of the skin and white of the eyes}.
* Vomitting
* Weakness
* Fatigue
* Loss of weight
* Abdominal pain

What are the causes of liver disease?

The causes of liver diseases are in general the causes of all diseases of the liver.These causes includes:
* Alcohol abuse, this is usually the main cause of liver disease
* Cancers can also cause liver disease. Cancers of the stomach are dangerous, as they can also gradually manifest themselves on the liver.
* Drugs and medications are also liable to cause hepatopathies.They can eventually lead to the inflammation of the liver, Hepatitis
* Wilson’s disease (the inability of the body to metabolize copper,thus, leading to liver failure or cirrhosis)

Treatment of Liver disease

The treatment of liver diseases varies with the cause of the disease. For instance, in cases of gallstones, the treatment will be either by dissolving the stones with a bile acid or by removal of the stones with the aid of a surgery.
Also,in cases of serious conditions like cirrhosis and liver failure, a liver TRANSPLANT may be necessary.
In cases of hepatitis,certain antibiotics can be effective which varies with the type of causative virus, whether A, B, C, D or E.

What are the recommended foods for liver diseases?

The following diet will be found helpful:

INCREASE the intake of

Vegetables, whole grains, fruits, loquat, artichoke, onion, tapioca, lecithin, honey, olive oil, tamarind, apple, grapes

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Abbati is a student from the department of Biological sciences, Ahmadu Bello Univeristy, Zaria. He loves learning about the medicinal properties of foods, and the need to explore them!

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