Obesity and Hepatitis: Adding Insult To Injury
When I see an overweight or obese individual, I envision a liver inside their abdomen that is struggling to convert all the unhealthy foods they’ve ingested into hundreds of essential body functions that keep them alive 24/7. In addition, the livers of hepatitis infected individuals are also under attack by treacherous hepatitis viruses. However, most obese individuals and viral hepatitis patients are unaware that their unhealthy diets can cause additional damage to their ailing livers, adding insult to injury.
Unfortunately, the liver with its zillions of hard working liver cells is a non complaining organ absent of any mechanism to warn its owner of trouble. This football sized organ and its microscopic liver cells perform mini miracles creating energy, strong bones and muscles, protecting us from all the germs, toxins in alcohol, drugs and environmental pollutants while jump starting hundreds of vital functions that keep us alive 24/7. According to new research by Dr. Lydia Lynch, Trinity College in Ireland, the body’s cancer-fighting Natural Killer Cells get clogged up and fail in obese individuals. Serious damage and cancer can occur without any signs or symptoms until the damage is far advanced with the only option remaining—liver transplantation. Most caregivers routinely recommend that hepatitis patients avoid drinking alcohol without explaining how the toxins in alcohol can cause additional damage to their already infected liver cells.
Most individuals are unaware that excess carbs, sugar and fatty foods ingested are converted into sugar and stored as fat cells in the liver. Eventually the liver, overloaded with fat cells sends the excess over to the abdomen, surrounding organs and arteries leading to high blood pressure and heart attacks. Enlarged fat cells become starved for oxygen triggering inflammation that eventually causes them to die. Dead liver cells turn into scar tissue, called cirrhosis.
Continued assault by unhealthy food and lifestyle choices leads to a drastically reduced number of healthy liver cells remaining to continue all the life sustaining body functions that we all take for granted. Eventually, with too few healthy liver cells remaining, the liver shuts down. When your liver shuts down . . . so do you.
Unfortunately, the liver is its own worst enemy. It has no way of alerting us that its liver cells are dying . . . except the fact that an obese individuals’ abdomen is protruding as a result of accumulated fat cells.
Individuals whose livers are under attack by hepatitis viruses are causing additional liver damage if they are overweight or obese. Liver cells that are being attacked by hepatitis viruses struggle to process all the foods they are being provided by their owner. Continued overindulgence and choices of unhealthy foods added to continued attack by rapidly multiplying hepatitis viruses accelerates liver cell damage which may lead to cancer of the liver and an early demise.
In addition to patients waiting to initiate their treatment for viral hepatitis, individuals who are co-infected with other hepatitis viruses and/or HIV need to be vigilant in protecting the remaining healthy liver cells that are responsible for processing medications prescribed to treat their other diseases to ensure their effectiveness.
Protecting liver cells by avoiding intimate contact with blood or body fluids, and not sharing tooth brushes, nail clippers, razors, etc. are vitally important for everyone to prevent hepatitis infections in the first place. Your life depends on how well you take care of your internal life support system and especially for anyone who has hepatitis, HIV and/or other liver problems.