Knowing what’s happening in your body is essential for a reliable health profile. Since this is Liver Awareness Month, take the time to learn a few vital details. You’ll learn about liver health problems and the vital role of a liver function test for your long-term health. Many assume that they don’t need to learn about liver health until there is a problem, but taking care of liver health preventatively is always the best way to go.
Are liver health problems common?
Without question, liver health problems are becoming more common. In the US, more than 100 million people have a liver disease in some stage or form. One of the biggest reasons for this is that liver health problems have a lot of common risk factors.
A more predictable liver health risk factor is a family history of liver disease. Other than a family history, some of the most common risk factors of liver health concerns include the following:
- Heavy alcohol use
- Type 2 diabetes
- Drug use (using shared needles)
- Blood transfusion before 1992
- Body fluid and blood exposure
- Chemical exposure
- Unprotected sex
Having these risk factors doesn’t guarantee you will deal with a liver health problem. Still, it can mean that liver testing should be a regular priority to ensure you catch a potential health issue early.
When should liver testing be done?
Unfortunately, there are no official recommendations on liver testing timing. You can always talk to your doctor and get their professional opinion on what kind of testing schedule you should consider.
The other component is that you can take your health into your own hands in liver awareness month, and order an at-home liver function test. This will put you in control of your testing schedule. This can be a great way to access crucial liver health information without taking time off to see a doctor. If these test results come back abnormal, you know that you should book an appointment as soon as possible to pursue further testing.
How can liver testing help?
What are the main benefits of either at-home testing or in-clinic testing? Why prioritize that when most people don’t take the time to do so? There are a few reasons that liver testing is something to seriously consider, even if you have no reason to think you are at risk.
You can screen yourself for diseases and infections
They can happen even if you don’t have any risk factors for liver disease or infections. Liver testing at proper intervals helps you stay aware of any potential issue as it sets in. This is an excellent reason since liver health problems don’t always give many symptoms.
Monitor liver function as diagnoses progress
If you do have cirrhosis or other liver disease diagnosis, you can rely on liver testing to help you monitor liver health and function. Not only will this help with symptom management, but it will also help you know what’s happening as real-time as possible.
Since cirrhosis can increase your risk of a stroke, regular testing is essential if you are diagnosed with it.
Detect medication side effects
Certain medications, used correctly or incorrectly, can put you at a higher risk of liver health issues. If you are taking those medications, your doctor should put you on a schedule for regular liver testing. If they can’t, or you want to stay on top of it yourself, you may find that self-administering tests will give you that control you need.
The liver and alcohol
Most people know that excessive alcohol use will put you at risk for liver health problems. Some may assume that getting testing regularly means that you can safely continue your current alcohol routine. While an alcohol-damaged liver can be treated to improve quality of life, it won’t reverse the damage or stop any future damage. You must adjust your diet to stop drinking or consider other treatment options.
If you are a heavy drinker and haven’t gotten your liver tested, ordering a simple, private, at-home liver function test is a great option to help you see if you should talk to your doctor. There is no better time than Liver Awareness Month to take your liver health into your own hands.
Even though many of us take our liver function for granted, it’s nice to know that we can take the time to consider testing when we feel we need to have more accurate information on what’s happening in real-time. Even if you are staying on top of your liver health, this is a great reminder to consider liver testing to know that all is okay! There’s never a wrong time to consider testing, so use this as the prompt you’ve been waiting for! Grab your liver function test now!