March 1, 2016

March Wellness: Early Detection for Liver and Kidney Diseases

The liver and kidneys are vital internal organs that our bodies need in order to work properly, but many people rarely ever think about them. The Canadian Liver Foundation estimates that one in ten Canadians have liver disease. The Kidney Foundation of Canada estimates about the same number have kidney disease. Unfortunately, many people who have a liver or kidney disease don’t know it because symptoms often don’t show until their disease is advanced. This is why screening and early detection are so important.

Liver Disease & Testing
The liver is the largest internal organ. It helps you digest food and store nutrients. It also cleanses the blood of toxins and waste from food, medicines and the environment. Liver diseases include non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease, liver cancer and hepatitis A, B and C.

Blood tests called liver enzyme tests can identify liver inflammation or damage. Doctors may recommend these tests for people with a family history of liver disease or with symptoms of potential liver disease including the following.
• yellow skin
• abdominal pain
• nausea
• vomiting

Kidney Disease & Testing
The kidneys balance blood pressure and regulate hormones and water levels. They also purify the blood and produce urine. Tests for kidney disease include blood tests to check serum creatinine levels and urinalysis to look for blood and/or a protein called albumin, which is normally filtered out by the kidneys. Doctors may recommend these tests for people with a family history of kidney disease or with symptoms of potential kidney disease including the following.
• swelling
• high blood pressure
• pale skin
• passing only small amounts of urine

If you have concerns about liver or kidney disease, talk to your doctor. For more information, check the Canadian Liver Foundation and Kidney Foundation of Canada websites.

For more posts like these, visit the Physical Wellness page.