Your internal health

When it comes to our health we tend to think about what we can see. So when we look to “get healthier” the likes of exercise, food, drinking more water and taking vitamins are all the obvious places to start with.

But what about what we can’t see. Our organs, muscles and blood all play an important role in our overall health but they aren’t always something that we can see or know how they are doing.

Knowing your organs

Liver

The liver is the largest solid organ in the body and is responsible for over 500 functions. It’s located on the right side of your body and is protected by the rib cage.

Some of the functions that the liver carries out include:

  • Storing iron
  • Breaking down & regulating hormones
  • Creating bile
  • Detoxify chemicals, drugs and toxins
  • Breaking down food into energy and
  • Fighting infections
  • Helps blood to clot by producing proteins

What can damage the liver?

There are a number of different types of liver disease:

  • Alcohol-related liver disease – the liver is damaged due to years of alcohol misuse
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – a buildup of fat within liver cells
  • Hepatitis – swelling of the liver
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis – damages the bile ducts in the liver

Being overweight, not doing enough exercise, consuming too much alcohol and having an unhealthy diet can all cause liver damage, positively though these are all addressable.

What are the symptoms of liver damage?

Symptoms such as; nausea, fatigue, swollen legs and ankles, itchy skin and jaundice can all be signs of liver damage.

The liver is also the only organ that can regenerate damaged tissue, meaning that it can effectively prevent its own failure.

Heart

The heart, which is a fist size organ found in the chest, is responsible for the movement of blood around your body. Along with blood vessels and blood they make up the cardiovascular system.

The heart also supplies oxygen and nutrients to tissues within the body along with removing carbon dioxide and other wastes from the body.

What can damage the heart?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) relates to all diseases of the heart such as heart attack, stroke, angina and congenital heart disease.

CVD occurs when there is a buildup of plaque in the artery walls, commonly referred to as atherosclerosis.

Risk factors of developing CVD include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking

Symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue and swollen ankles and feet can occur due to the heart not being able to efficiently pump blood around the body.

Lungs

The lungs are the primary organs of our respiratory system, their role is to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream and discard of carbon dioxide.

What can damage the lungs?

Smoking and infections along with genetics are the main causes of lung disease.

Some lung diseases are:

  • Asthma – inflamed airways that results in wheezing & shortness of breath
  • Cystic fibrosis – a genetic condition causing poor clearance of mucus
  • Pneumonia – a bacterial infection of the alveoli
  • Emphysema – damaged connections between the alveoli

Symptoms of lung damage usually include a form of cough, shortness of breath, wheezing and possible chest pain.

CRP

What is CRP?

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein that is found in blood plasma. It’s levels rise in response to the level of inflammation within a body.

Inflammation

Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response system. It is the body’s response to defend against foreign entities, fight viruses, heal injuries and repair damaged tissue.

CRP is used as a marker of inflammation, thus giving a general indication of how healthy your body really is. A simple blood test can tell you your CRP levels.

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Claire is the Inbound and Content Manager here at Thriva. Her mission is break through all the clutter of information that is out there relating to health and bring you informative, easy to digest, actionable insights.