One of the leading causes of death in the United States, liver disease ranks fourth as a killer of people between the ages of 45 and 64. Unfortunately, without an annual blood test, it can progress silently until the organ’s ability to function has been greatly compromised. When a diagnosis of liver disease is given, the road that lies ahead is unfamiliar to most patients and may seem frightening. To ease their journey, bestselling author and physician Dr. Rich Snyder has written What You Must Know About Liver Disease, a guide to understanding the disease and its treatment options.
The book is divided into two parts. Part One addresses the conventional approach to the treatment of liver disease. Using nontechnical language, Dr. Snyder begins by explaining the function of the liver and examines the many ways in which the liver can be damaged—from alcohol abuse to overdosing on over-the-counter pain relievers. He also provides an overview of the type of care to expect from your healthcare team— including tests, medications, and more—and looks at the signs and symptoms of possible complications. Once you know the basics of liver function and conventional treatments, Part Two provides a comprehensive examination of the complementary therapies that can be used in coordination with your ongoing care. The doctor offers information on nutrition and natural supplements—those to take and those to avoid. Finally, he presents an exercise program designed specifically for liver patients and a Liver-Detoxification Plan that can rid the organ of burdensome substances.
Written in a clear and inviting manner, Dr. Snyder allows patients and their families to better understand what liver disease is and how it can be successfully treated. Most important, What You Must Know About Liver Disease gives patients the information they need to be active participants in their own healthcare.
Rich Snyder, DO, holds a medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Snyder completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Abington Memorial Hospital and his Nephrology Fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Nephrology.
Dr. Snyder is a contributing member of the American Osteopathic Association, the American College of Osteopathic Internists, the Renal Physicians Association, and several other medical organizations. He is also the author or co-author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and is the best-selling author of What You Must Know About Kidney Disease. In addition to being a popular speaker, Dr. Snyder has appeared on numerous radio and televisions shows throughout North America. Currently, Dr. Snyder maintains a full-time clinical nephrology practice in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Part One. An Introduction to Liver Disease
1. Your Liver and You
2. A General Overview of Liver Disease
3. A Closer Look at Liver Disease
4. Understanding the Complications of Liver Disease
5. Frequently Prescribed Medications
6. Interacting with Health Care Professionals
7. Preparing for a Liver Transplant
Part Two. Complementary Treatment Approaches and Lifestyle Changes
8. Developing a Liver Detoxification Plan
9. Creating a Liver-Based Nutrition Plan
10. Using Natural Supplements and Herbs for Liver Disease
11. Developing an Exercise Plan
About the Author
According to the American Liver Foundation, approximately thirty million people in the United States have been diagnosed with liver disease. That means one out of every ten people is affected by a disease such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver cancer. And although your liver is essential to sustaining a healthy life because it performs many important processes in the body, it is often overlooked.
The scary aspect about liver diseases is that you can have one for a long time without being aware that something is wrong. It is only when the condition has dramatically worsened that you begin to experience its symptoms and understand the effect it can have on your health. That is why it is so important to know about the risk factors and initial signs of liver diseases. The earlier you can catch a liver problem, the better your outcome will be.
What You Must Know About Liver Disease will provide you with the fundamental information you need to know to gain insight into how well your liver is functioning. You will be able to identify your risk factors for liver disease, as well as the important steps you can take to prevent one from occurring in the first place. If you have already been diagnosed with a liver disease, it is vital to understand your treatment and management options, which will also be discussed in this book.
The goal of this book is to provide you with the basics of liver disease. Because liver disease can be complex, understanding the basics is crucial to helping you effectively work with your doctor and other healthcare providers in formulating a treatment plan. This is meant to be a “beginner-level book” that gives you the information you need in an easy-to-read and understandable format.
Through reading this book, you will gain an understanding not only of the dietary and lifestyle changes that you can make to improve your liver health, but also of the clinical side of various disorders so that you can effectively work with your health care provider to create a personalized treatment plan.
The book is divided into two parts to provide you with an integrated view of the treatment of liver diseases. You first gain an understanding of the most common liver diseases and the treatment strategies available. Then, you review the complementary and alternative treatments that can be used to improve this organ’s health.
Part One, “An Introduction to Liver Disease,” provides you with the fundamentals of the liver and its diseases. You learn about where this important organ is located, the basic functions it performs, and its role in your overall health. You review the most common conditions, as well as the various means that doctors use to define, diagnose, and treat them. The causes of liver disease will be explained, as well. I tell you about how to get the most out of your office visits when talking to your family doctor, a liver specialist, or to a team of liver transplant coordinators. You also gain a clear understanding of commonly ordered blood tests that physicians will use to better evaluate your liver function, and what they mean.
Part Two, titled “Complementary Treatment Approaches and Lifestyle Changes,” places the focus on prevention and treatment, especially on complementary and alternative methods that you can utilize to improve your liver function. You will learn about ways in which you can develop a detox plan for your liver, without feeling hungry or exhausted.
An important chapter in this section discusses the dietary changes you will need to make to create a “liver-based nutrition plan.” As obesity and poor diet are major causes of liver disease in industrialized countries, this chapter is significant in its prevention. The nutrition plan that you adopt today can only be beneficial to your health in the future. In addition to dietary and lifestyle changes, in Part Two you learn about natural supplements and herbs, as well as an exercise plan, that you can add to enhance your treatment regimen.
Whether you have the risk factors for liver disease (but have not been diagnosed with one) or you have been living with a liver disease for years, this book arms you with the tools and information that you need to give yourself the best outcome possible. The knowledge that you gain from this book will allow you to be your own advocate for your health care. Let’s get reading!
A Word From the Authors
Part One. Kidney Smarts
1. Kidneys—the Body’s Workhorses
2. The Dietary Basis of Kidney Disease
Part Two. Nutrition and Kidney Health
3. Kidney-Friendly Foods
4. Slowing Kidney Damage With Produce
Part Three. Smoothie Recipes
5. Why Smoothies?
6. The Basics of Making Smoothies
7. Smoothies for Most
8. Smoothies With Reduced Phosphorus and Potassium
9. Smoothies for Dialysis