On July 10, 2021, Seniors Today hosted leading Gastroenterolgist and Hepatologist Dr SP Misra as part of its weekly Heath Live series. Dr Noor Gill captures the takeaways from the session. Read on…
But first a little about Dr SP Misra. Dr Misra (MD, DM, FRCP (London), FRCP (Edinburg), FICP, FACG, FNASc, FAMS) is Professor and Head of Department of Gastroenterology MLN Medical College, University of Allahabad. A recipient of multiple awards, Dr Misra has trained in the United Kingdom, US, Japan and Australia. He has been published 300-odd times in international journals. A former President of the Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy of India, he has also been President and Secretary General of the Indian Society of Gastroenterology.
Dr Misra addressed liver care for senior citizens.
Functions of the liver:
- Processes, stores and synthesises proteins
- Produces bile
- Synthesises all proteins except immunoglobulins
- Detoxifies alcohol and drugs
- Processes extra nitrogen
- Synthesises protein, fat and glucose
- Metabolises fats, carbohydrates and toxins. It can convert one into the other.
- It has a huge immune function
- It stores the carbohydrates and produces it in the form of glucose
- Site of erythropoiesis, i.e formation of blood in the foetal phase takes place in the liver
The liver is the first filter, whatever you eat, passes through the liver. It detoxifies and metabolises the substances in the food item you consume.
Common liver diseases:
- Fatty liver
- Drug induced hepatitis
- Hepatitis B and C
Ways to keep your liver healthy:
- If you want a good/ healthy liver, you should modulate your alcohol consumption or completely stop consuming any.
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis B, it is very effective.
- Have a good and safe supply of water to avoid Hepatitis A and E, it is not chronic but can be fatal
Moderation of alcohol consumption means-
Social drinking is acceptable
1-2 pegs a day is permissible too
1-2 pegs a week is even better
And not consuming alcohol at all is the best and healthiest.
It is not the type of alcohol but the content of the alcohol that matters. There is no such thing as a “liver friendly alcohol”. Most of the alcohols contain 45% alcohol v/v. You should keep your absolute alcohol content less than 100 grams a day. And as your age advances, if your body weight is less or have other comorbidities, try keeping your absolute alcohol content between 70-80 grams per day.
Lean, non-alcoholic individuals can also have fatty liver, this is called NASH- Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis. This can be credited to poor diet, vegetarianism, calorific deficits, etc., to name a few causes.
Nowadays, fatty liver is diagnosed on ultrasound, but sometimes the ultrasound can be fallacious in cases where sometimes grade I fatty liver might not be picked up or reported since ultrasonography is an interpretation based study.
It takes around 20-25 years for a fatty liver to become cirrhotic.
You don’t need to get any routine investigations done for your liver. But if you feel the need for it, your doctor will ask you to get your liver enzymes checked- SGOT, SGPT. Apart from that your serum bilirubin, serum albumin levels.
The liver has got regenerative properties.
Detoxifying procedures and cleanses are not helpful or for that matter do not even do much. The liver itself is a detoxifying organ and cleanses itself. You should not fall for such advertisements, said Dr Misra