The liver is a resilient, maintenance-free organ that's easy to ignore - until something goes wrong.
The liver performs over 500 different functions including fighting off infection, neutralizing toxins, manufacturing proteins and hormones, controlling blood sugar and helping to clot blood.
Due to its wide-ranging responsibilities, the liver often comes under attack from viruses, toxic substances (including alcohol), contaminants and diseases. Even when it's under attack, symptoms are often slow to surface.
There isn't a cure for liver disease. That's why it's important to take steps to prevent it, such as making healthy lifestyle choices. The liver helps power your body by storing and releasing energy when you need it and plays a key role in converting food into the chemicals essential for life.
Doctors in the province encourage all Nova Scotians to eat healthy and be physically active. Choose a variety of foods from all four food groups of Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Living, drink six to eight glasses of water a day, consume alcohol in moderation, and consult your doctor if you are considering taking vitamins or herbal supplements.
Exercise is especially important in maintaining an ideal weight for your age, gender and body type. People who are overweight or obese, run a higher risk of developing a fatty liver which can lead to fatty liver disease - the most common form of liver disease in Canada. Integrating more activity into your daily routine can be as simple as taking a stroll around your neighborhood, parking farther away from an entrance, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Doctors Nova Scotia reminds all Nova Scotians that March is Liver Health Month. For more information about liver disease and how diet and exercise can keep your liver healthy visit www.liver.ca.
Ross Leighton, President
Doctors Nova Scotia