The liver is one of the critical organs in our body. It performs multiple vital functions such as carbohydrates and fats metabolism, toxin removal from the blood and protein synthesis. Therefore, it is very important to pay immediate attention to any problem related to liver health. Besides a sedentary lifestyle and hectic work schedule, heavy alcohol consumption and obesity are among the most common causes of liver disease in India. Fatty liver disease, caused by fat deposits in the liver, is another significant cause of liver problems.
Every serious illness requires high-quality medical care as well as financial assistance in the form of
health insurance. Medical insurance policy not only provides financial aid during hospitalisation but also provides coverage to most of the pre and post hospitalisation expenses. Liver disease necessitates a variety of lifestyle modifications as well as ongoing monitoring and treatment.
Symptoms of a bad liver
Liver disease does not necessarily manifest itself in the form of visible signs and symptoms. You might, however, feel exhausted or have pain in the upper right side of your abdomen. Other symptoms may include:
• Nausea or vomiting
• Loss of appetite
• Eyes and skin that appear yellowish
• Dark urine colour
• Pale stool colour
• Chronic fatigue
• Swelling in legs and ankles
• Tendency to bruise easily
Causes of liver disease
Liver infection caused by parasites or viruses may result in inflammation and reduced liver function. Hepatitis viruses are one of the most common causes of liver infection. These viruses include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
Abnormal immune system
Your liver may be affected by an autoimmune disease—in which your immune system attacks specific parts of your body. Some examples of autoimmune liver diseases are primary biliary cholangitis, autoimmune hepatitis and primary sclerosing cholangitis.
Genetics could play a role in some kinds of damaging liver conditions. One can develop a tendency for an unusual build-up of substances in the liver causing long-term liver damage, due to an abnormal gene that was passed from either one or both parents. Genetic liver disorders include Wilson's disease, Hemochromatosis and Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
Just like many other parts of the human body, even the liver witnesses high cases of cancer. Some common liver cancers include liver adenoma and bile duct cancer.
Apart from the above-mentioned conditions, other common causes of liver ailment are:
• Accumulation of fat in the liver
• Chronic alcohol abuse
• Some over the counter medicines
• Several herbal compounds
Liver disorder complications vary depending on the cause of the liver problem. Untreated liver disease can lead to liver failure—a potentially fatal condition. Therefore, it is important to take good care of the liver.
Precautions and treatments for common liver ailments
Avoid or drink alcohol in moderation
Drinking high quantities of alcohol can scar your liver or damage it permanently. If you want to determine the appropriate amount of alcohol for consumption, consult your doctor. It would be beneficial if you drink alcohol in moderation or avoid it entirely.
Use medications wisely
Take prescription and over-the-counter medications only when they are necessary and consume prescribed drugs in the right dosages. Never have medicines while or soon after the consumption of alcohol. Always consult your doctor before combining herbal supplements with the prescribed or non-prescribed medications.
Avoid contact with other people's body fluids and blood
Accidental needle sticks or improper cleanup of blood or bodily fluids may spread hepatitis viruses.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Make sure you eat healthy food and include exercise or yoga in your daily routine to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Non-healthy lifestyle or obesity can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
• Get vaccinated
Consult your doctor about getting the hepatitis A and B vaccines if you are at a higher risk of contracting hepatitis or if you already have some kind of hepatitis virus infection.
health insurance help you?
In India, the healthcare cost is constantly increasing. If you do not have a valid health insurance cover, you might end up spending a significant portion of your savings on medical treatments. Usually, the cost of treatment for liver ailments run high and not having health insurance can cause a major setback to your finances. Various benefits of health insurance can help you in dealing with the high medical costs associated with your liver care.
Benefits of health insurance
One of the most important benefits of health insurance is the option to avail of cashless hospitalisation feature. Nowadays, health insurance companies have widespread network hospitals across the country. If you have a health condition and are admitted to one of the network hospitals, you will most likely be able to benefit from cashless hospitalisation.
With cashless treatment, the insurance company will pay your medical bills to the hospital directly. In the case of a non-network hospital, customers can use the reimbursement facility.
Pre and post-hospitalisation cost
Your illness does not always require hospitalisation. Pre-hospitalisation expenses include diagnostic tests such as for sugar and blood pressure, X-rays and doctor consultation fees. It also covers post-hospitalisation expenses incurred for further treatment, after getting admitted to the hospital. These expenses include advanced vaccines and medicines, organ replacement, advanced medical tests etc. However, most health insurance companies cover these expenses incurred 60-90 days after hospitalisation.
Daycare cost coverage
A daycare procedure is a medical procedure or surgery that can be finished in 24 hours. As a result, even if the patient stays in the hospital for a short time, that is less than 24 hours, he/she can still file a claim. Chemotherapy, nasal sinuses, cataract surgery, radiotherapy and dialysis are some examples of such procedures. Health insurance provides coverage for such types of daycare medical expenses.
Domiciliary hospitalisation refers to when you are deemed to be hospitalised despite being taken care of at home. For example, if you are unable to get hospitalised due to a serious illness or accident, your health insurance coverage will cover the costs of home care. However, insurance companies have set a limit on the number of days and the amount for which the benefit is available.
• Daily hospital cash allowance
During hospitalisation, health insurance companies provide regular hospital cash payout that includes a lump sum balance that can be used as needed by the insured. The funds are used to cover extra costs not covered by health insurance or to compensate for lost income while in the hospital. Such allowance is available for the period ranging from 30 days to 45 days, and the amount can be anywhere between Rs 100 to Rs 10,000. However, both amount and period vary from one insurer to another.
You get tax benefits on the premium of your health insurance policy under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act of 1961. These benefits include:
• Health insurance for yourself and your family—spouse and children - Rs 25,000
• If you are also paying a premium for your parents who are above 60 years of age - Rs 25,000 + Rs 25,000 = Rs 50,000
• For self and family (with the eldest member under the age of 60) + senior citizen parents - Rs 25,000 + Rs 50,000 = Rs 75,000
• For self and family (with eldest member over 60 years old) + senior citizen parents - Rs 50,000 + Rs 50,000 = Rs 1,00,000
In addition to the mentioned benefits of health insurance, if you include critical illness insurance in your policy then it provides few other benefits too.
If you are diagnosed with any of the critical illnesses mentioned in the policy manual, the
critical illness health insurance policy pays a set sum. The lump-sum amount can be used to cover household expenses as well as other diagnostic tests and care costs for the diagnosed critical health condition. The critical illness policy or critical illness add-ons also cover end-stage liver diseases.
The liver is responsible for many vital bodily functions. However, in India, liver diseases have become widespread due to poor routine and unhealthy foods. The cost of treating liver disease is extremely high. However, if you have health insurance or critical illness coverage as an add-on benefit, you would not have to be concerned about high-cost medical bills while availing yourself of the best treatment possible.