Liver: Silent Superhero or Nefarious Villain?

We are all aware of the importance of the liver in our body and realize that to love our liver is to love our life. This is the second largest organ of the body and it performs a variety of functions and can be called an all-rounder. It is also interesting to note that it has plenty of reserve capacity to the extent that it shows no signs of wearing out till two-thirds of it is not functioning. It has an amazing ability to regenerate and reinvent itself after being severely affected in some diseases.


No wonder our liver is a silent hero because you never really feel this organ working, in contrast to a beating heart or breathing lungs for that matter. It works day in and day out to produce bile – digestive juice & important proteins, stores energy, vitamins & minerals and processes and purifies everything in the blood.

Modern life has brought about radical changes in our lifestyle making it much more comfortable and at the same time attracting many new health issues. Among these, fatty liver is proving to be a great challenge. Though it has the potential to progress causing serious liver damage and manifest as liver failure not reversible with medical treatment, it does not produce any symptoms. No pain, discomfort… nothing. It is often detected by a scan done to diagnose other issues. If undetected, the first sign of liver disease starts only when the liver is damaged beyond repair and that too almost two-thirds of it. Also, alcoholism, viral hepatitis, drugs and supplements induced liver injury, poisoning, etc., can affect the liver function and become life-threatening. Liver failure in advanced stages can damage other organs and hence can be a nefarious villain endangering life.

Everybody needs to be aware of the ways of keeping the liver healthy in order to lead a happy life. The important points are enlisted below:

  • Diet: Optimum calories, high protein and healthy fat intake, low-fat dairy are key.
  • Activity: Aerobic exercise for a minimum of 45 minutes every day.
  • Alcohol intake to be moderated in healthy individuals and avoided in persons with liver disease.
  • Hygiene: Ensure safe water and uncontaminated food intake.
  • Avoid taking medicines and supplements without consulting a doctor.
  • Vaccinate yourself against hepatitis B and if necessary, hepatitis A.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and avoid truncal obesity.
  • Safe practices in tattooing, sexual partners.
  • Good intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, green tea and coffee.

Having lived a healthy and happy life, we always need to lend a helping hand to those in need. Giving makes one happier, much more than receiving. Organ donation is one such opportunity that we have after we have utilized our organs during our lifetime. The act of organ donation helps many people live after us with this precious gift of life. It saves the life of the person suffering from the disease and everybody dependent on him. Transplantation is a miracle which cannot happen without organ donation. So, the real hero in this process is the donor and hence we all need to be courageous and promise to leave the world a better place even after we bid adieu. We need to pledge our organs and more importantly discuss our decision with our near family, so that they will be able to make the decision in their moment of grief.

We make many new resolutions every year, and for 2022 let us resolve to adopt a healthy lifestyle to protect our liver and pledge to donate our organs and help others.


Dr. Elankumaran K
Sr. Consultant – Liver Transplantation & HPB Surgery
Head – Liver Diseases & Transplantation Centre
Kauvery Hospital, Chennai