Preventing hepatitis starts with good living habits

Preventing hepatitis starts with good living habits

The liver is the largest digestive gland in the human body and has functions such as metabolism, hematopoiesis, detoxification, protein synthesis, secretion and excretion of bile. Hepatitis is the most common liver disease and can be divided into viral and non-viral hepatitis. Viral hepatitis is highly contagious and includes five subtypes: A, B, C, D and E. Non-viral hepatitis is divided into autoimmune hepatitis, alcoholic hepatitis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, metabolic hepatitis and drug-induced hepatitis, and is not contagious.

There are many factors that cause hepatitis, mainly including: viral infection, such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Improper medication. The liver is the main place of drug metabolism. Improper medication or physical sensitivity may cause liver damage; excessive drinking. , long-term heavy drinking can cause the liver to overload; obesity factors, excessive accumulation of fat in liver cells can easily lead to abnormal liver function; autoimmune factors, abnormal autoimmune status may cause autoimmune liver disease.

Hepatitis not only damages the liver, but may also involve other organs and induce complications such as hepatic encephalopathy and upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Since the liver has no pain-sensing nerves, the disease usually has no obvious symptoms and is easily ignored. If hepatitis is not treated in time, it may worsen the condition, cause liver fibrosis or cirrhosis, and even develop into liver cancer in severe cases.

If the following symptoms occur, it indicates that the liver may have been damaged and you should seek medical treatment in time: loss of appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhea, rejection of greasy food, nausea after eating greasy food and other digestive tract symptoms; skin itching, dullness, and weakened elasticity. Jaundice (yellowing) of the skin, sclera, and urine, liver palms (red patches and spots appear at the base of the thumb and little finger), spider nevus (shape like a spider, with radially arranged capillary dilation next to the nevus, often on the face , shoulders, neck) and other skin symptoms; long-term fatigue, limb numbness, drowsiness, coma and other neurological symptoms.

Hepatitis can be prevented and cured. To prevent viral hepatitis, attention should be paid to the following aspects: Vaccination. Hepatitis vaccination is currently the main means to prevent viral hepatitis. Hepatitis A, B, and E can be prevented through vaccination. There are currently no vaccines for hepatitis C and D. Cut off the infection route, avoid unprotected contact with blood, body fluids, excreta, etc. of patients with viral hepatitis. Do not mix personal appliances such as razors and toothbrushes with others, and strictly disinfect medical equipment when using it. In addition, susceptible groups should take precautions. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and medical staff are more susceptible to viral infection and must take protective measures to avoid exposure to the hepatitis virus in their daily lives and work.

Emotions, sleep, diet, drugs, etc. can all affect liver function. Therefore, to prevent non-viral hepatitis, we must also start by developing good living habits.

Use medications rationally. Some drugs and their metabolites have direct toxic effects on the liver. After getting sick, you should seek medical treatment in time and take medicines according to the doctor’s advice. Do not use medicines or increase or decrease the dosage at will to avoid drug-induced hepatitis. If combined medication is needed, medical advice should be followed and liver function should be checked regularly.

Liquor limited. Alcohol will affect liver metabolism, causing liver cell disease, forming alcoholic hepatitis. It is recommended to drink as little or no alcohol as possible.

healthy diet. Ensure that the three meals are nutritionally balanced and eat less high-oil and high-fat foods. You can usually eat more foods rich in high-quality protein and vitamins, such as fish, tofu, chicken, broccoli and spinach.

Stay up late less often. Chinese medicine believes that when a person lies down, blood returns to the liver. When you get enough sleep, the blood circulation flowing through the liver is rich, and the repair ability of liver cells is accelerated, which is conducive to liver cell regeneration. Staying up late will reduce the body’s resistance and is not conducive to liver cell repair. It is recommended to have a regular schedule as much as possible, go to bed early and get up early to avoid overexertion.

Relieve emotions. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the liver governs dispersion, which means that the liver has the functions of smoothing qi, regulating emotions, promoting bile secretion and dispersion, and assisting the spleen and stomach in digestion. Bad emotions will affect the liver’s function of dispersing and releasing liver qi, leading to stagnation of liver qi. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a peaceful mind and channel negative emotions in a timely manner.

Regular liver function checks can detect early liver lesions in time and increase the probability of disease cure. Especially those who are over 40 years old, have been infected with viral hepatitis, have a family history of liver cancer, take medicine for a long time, or drink alcohol for a long time, should have regular liver-related examinations. It is recommended to check liver function once a year, and for people with chronic liver disease to check once every 3-6 months. (The author is the chief physician of the Department of Liver Medicine, Fifth Medical Center, PLA General Hospital)

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