ASK THE EXPERT: Keeping your liver healthy and preventing disease

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The liver is your body’s largest internal organ. It’s one of the organs you can’t live without.

The American Liver Foundation reports- each year almost- 33,000 Americans die from liver cancer. They also report that 5.5 millions are living with chronic liver disease.

As part of our Ask The Expert series, 7NEWS spoke with an internal medicine physician about how you can keep your liver healthy.

Dr. Jordan Grnak, an internal medicine physician, said the liver has hundreds of important functions. “The main functions are going to be storage of nutrients and blood regulation of blood glucose or blood sugar and production of bile to help process waste.”

Research shows that cases of liver cancer have more than tripled since 1980.

Liver disease is also on the rise and there are more than 100 different types.

Fatty liver, a build-up of fat in the liver, is the most common cause of chronic liver disease.

“So if you get a lot of foods that are high in fat content or you don’t get a lot of exercise, or you carry a lot of extra adipose tissue that can eventually be deposited into the liver and cause scarring and inflammation,” Dr. Grnak said.

There are some signs that may indicate your liver is functioning badly.

Dr. Grnak said, “You might notice that your skin is a different color more yellow which is called jaundice you can see the yellow and the whites of your eyes…And you can also have some mild upper abdominal pain on the right side.”

Dr. Grnak said treatment options for fatty liver and other liver diseases are pretty limited. The liver doesn’t always respond to medication.

Eating a healthy diet and excercising regulary are the best ways prevent and reverse damage.

“Eating foods that are low in fat and getting a lot of exercise,” Dr. Grank said.

Another way to keep your liver healthy is by limiting the use of over-the-counter pain relievers.

“Most common cause of acute liver failure in the united states is drug overdose, and that is, with acetaminophen or Tylenol so when patients are taking Tylenol they should consider how much they’re taking and not exceed four grams or 4000 milligrams of Tylenol in one day.”

To submit a health topic for our Ask the Expert series, click here.

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