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Anatomy & Functions
The liver can be found in the upper right-hand section of the abdomen cavity, below the diaphragm and on the top of the stomach and right kidney.What does the liver do and symptoms of liver disease?
The liver, which is roughly the shape of a cone-shaped organ, weighs around 3 pounds.
Two sources of blood supply the liver are available:
- The hepatic arterial receives oxygenated blood.
- The portal vein that supplies the liver with nutrients is where you will find the nutrient-rich blood.
One pint (13%) of the body’s total blood supply is held by the liver at any one time. There are two main lobes in the liver. Each consists of 8 segments, each with 1,000 lobules (smaller lobes). These lobules connect to smaller ducts (tubes), which then join with larger ducts to create the common hepatic conduit. Through the common bile conduit, the common hepatic tube transports the bile from the liver cells to gallbladder and duodenum.
The functions of the liver
The liver controls most chemicals in the blood and excretes something called bile. This is what helps eliminate waste products from your liver. The liver is responsible for all blood that leaves the stomach and intestines. The liver is responsible for processing this blood. It balances and breaks down the nutrients, creates them, and also metabolizes drugs to make them more useful or nontoxic. The liver is responsible for more than 500 functions. The following are some of the most well-known functions:
- Produce bile which aids in digestion by removing waste and breaking down fats in small intestine.
- Certain proteins are produced for blood plasma
- Special proteins and cholesterol are produced to transport fats throughout the body.
- The conversion of excess glucose to glycogen for storage (glycogen is later converted to glucose for energy).
- Control of blood levels amino acids which are the building blocks of protein.
- Hemoglobin is processed for iron (the liver stores iron).
- Conversion of poisonous ammonia into urea (urea, which is an end product protein metabolism and is excreted through the urine),
- Eliminating drugs and other poisonous substances from the blood
- Blood clotting regulation
- Immune factors are created to fight infections and remove bacteria from the bloodstream.
- Clearance of bilirubin and red blood cells. The skin and eyes will turn yellow if there is an excessive amount of bilirubin.
After the liver has removed harmful substances from the body, the by-products of the liver are expelled into the blood or bile. Bile byproducts reach the intestine where they are excreted as feces. The kidneys filter out blood by-products and release them as urine.
What are the conditions and diseases that affect the liver?
The liver can be affected by many conditions. The most common conditions are:
- These diseases are caused by excessive intake of toxins such as alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) and fatty liver disease (extra Fat).
- Hemochromatosis (iron overload), Wilson disease (too many copper levels in the body) are two examples of inheritable diseases.
- When abnormal cells grow too fast, liver cancer is diagnosed.
- There are several problems that can arise when the immune system attacks your liver. These include autoimmune hepatitis (autoimmune cholangitis), primary sclerosing Cholangitis (primary biliary chokelangitis), and primary biliary.
- Viral infections include hepatitis A and hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
These conditions can cause liver scarring (cirrhosis).
Sometimes damaged liver tissue may be able to regenerate or grow back. Sometimes, liver disease can lead to serious symptoms that can even prove fatal.
What are the signs and symptoms of liver disease?
jaundice is a common symptom of a liver problem.
Jaundice is a condition where the skin and whites turn yellow due to too much bilirubin. Bilirubin, a yellow waste product that the liver eliminates when it breaks down red cells, is a yellow substance. A problem with the liver may be indicated by higher levels of bilirubin.
Other signs and symptoms of liver disease include:
- Ascites is the accumulation of fluid around the abdomen.
- Easy bruising.
- Itchy skin.
- Low blood pressure
- The abdomen is tender.
- Swelling of the ankles or legs
- Tremors (shaking)
- Permanent fatigue, loss of balance and weakness
- Confusion or loss in orientation
How can I keep my liver healthy and strong?
These tips will help you keep your liver healthy.
- Avoid chemicals, smoking, and illegal drugs.
- Share razors, toothbrushes, needles and any other personal items that could spread viruses.
- Moderation is the key to enjoying alcohol.
- Follow the instructions of your healthcare professional regarding medications, including warnings about mixing drugs and alcohol.
- Keep a healthy weight by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
- Safe sex is key to avoiding hepatitis.
- Discuss vaccinations for hepatitis with your healthcare provider.
- You should wash your hands often.