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眠い猫

肝臓の疲労が引き起こす眠気や倦怠感

眠気のある猫

肝臓に異変がある場合には、症状として継続的な眠気・倦怠感が現れます。

肝臓は体内の毒素を分解したり、体に必要な栄養素を保管するなど極めて重要な働きをします。そのため、このような重要な臓器である肝臓に異変があった場合には、体への悪影響として継続的な倦怠感・眠気が襲ってきます。

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肝臓が果たす重要な働き

眠気に負けた男

肝臓は体の内蔵の中でも、最大級の重さを誇る臓器です。

肝臓は成人の場合、約1キロ半の重さがあり、内蔵の中ではもっとも重量があります。この肝臓は単に大きいだけではなく体内で健康維持のためにとても重要な働きをしています。例えば、肝臓は解毒作用があります。体に取り込んだ飲食物(例えばアルコール)の毒素を分解したり、栄養素を肝臓が保管したりします。

肝臓では約2000種類もの酵素が活発に活動して、健康の維持のために重要な働きを続けています。このように人間の体の健康維持のために肝臓は非常に重要な働きをします。そのため、このような肝臓の働きが低下すれば健康は著しい悪影響を受けることとなります。

肝臓が疲労したり、活動が低下した場合に現れる症状の一つとして強い眠気や倦怠感があります。

肝臓の異変と自覚症状としての眠気

肝臓は、よく「沈黙の臓器」などと呼ばれることがあります。

肝臓は活動に異常、異変があってもなかなかその症状を表にあらわすことはありません。肝臓の不調が明白になった場合には、もはや手の施しようがないほど肝臓の機能が悪化しているということもありえます。そのため、肝臓の異変を感知した場合には速やかに医師の診療を受けることが重要です。医師の診療を受けるスピードが命に直接関わることもありえます。

肝臓の異変を示す一つのわかりやすいメルクマールとしては、眠気・倦怠感という自覚症状を挙げることができます。肝臓に異変があると眠気が生じます。それは以下のようなメカニズムに基づくものです。

肝臓は先に述べましたように解毒作用や栄養素の貯蔵などの健康維持のために重要な働きをしています。この肝臓の機能が低下すると、体内の毒素が分解されなかったり栄養が体内を循環しないなどの状態になってしまうため、自然に体の働きは低下することとなります。そのため、肝臓の働きが低下すれば、体の働きが低下し、眠気・倦怠感が常につきまとうこととなります。

もちろん、眠気や倦怠感がいつもあるからといって、常に肝臓の機能障害があるというわけではありません。例えば、昼間の眠気や倦怠感は睡眠時無呼吸症候群やうつ病など様々な原因から眠気が抜けない場合もあります。また、単に疲労がたまっており眠気が抜けないというような場合や春や秋などの季節柄、眠気が取れないという場合もあります。

しかし、永年、飲酒が多かったり、他の症状(黄斑が現れるなど)とともに眠気・倦怠感が継続している場合には肝臓の疾患の可能性を疑わなければなりません。肝臓はとても強力な臓器ですが、一度壊れてしまうと肝臓の機能は回復しないと言われます。日々の眠気・倦怠感から肝機能悪化が疑われる場合には、速やかに医師に相談することが早急に必要となります。

眠気とともに生じる肝臓機能低下の場合の諸症状

眠気以外にも肝臓が「悲鳴」を上げている場合の症状としては、以下のような症状があります。眠気以外にも下記のような症状が併発しているような場合には特に強く肝臓の疾患の可能性が疑われますので、緊急で医師の診療を受けることが必要ということができます。

肝臓に異変がある場合に生じる、眠気以外の症状としてはまず、肌の黄色化があります。つまり、体のあちこちが黄色くなります。肌の黄色化は足や胸、腹部などに現れることが多い傾向にあります。継続的な眠気・倦怠感とともに肌の黄色化が生じた場合には、肝臓の異変の可能性があります。

ほかには、肝臓の右上部が盛り上がるという症状が現れることがあります。この症状も眠気・倦怠感とともにあらわれた場合には、肝臓の異変の可能性を疑わなければなりません。この他にも、眠気以外にも気持ちが高ぶりやすくなり、怒りっぽくなる、右肩がこるなどの症状があらわれます。

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まとめ:眠気・肝臓右上部の盛り上がりなどがあったら即座に病院へ

以上述べましたことをまとめる以下のようになります。

  • 肝臓は体の中で最大の重量を誇る臓器であり、体の健康維持のために欠かすことができません。具体的には肝臓は栄養物を蓄えたり、体に有害な物質の解毒作用をするなどの働きをします
  • このような体のために、重要な働きをする臓器である肝臓が疲弊したり、病気になったりすると眠気や倦怠感を中心とした様々な症状があらわれます。眠気や倦怠感が継続的に現れる場合には、他の代表的な症状と合わせて肝臓の病気の可能性を疑うことが重要です
  • 眠気などから肝臓の病気の可能性がある場合にはすぐに病院へ行くことが必要です。肝臓は沈黙の臓器と言われ、自覚症状がある時点では、相当肝臓の症状が悪化している可能性が考えられます

眠気・倦怠感は肝臓があげる大きな「悲鳴」です。この悲鳴をしっかりと受け止め、早めに治療を受けてください。

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