There is a factory inside your body. Its weight is about 1.4kg and runs for 24 hours a day. It is located under the ribcage towards the right upper corner of your stomach. It is the second-largest organ of your body (skin being the largest organ). It reaches the size of a football in a fully grown human. It is reddish-brown in color. It feels rubbery when we touch it. Normally we can’t feel it because it is protected by the ribcage. This is your liver, the largest organ in your body, and one of the most vital. The liver may be the least talked about organ but has many important tasks to perform without which one cannot survive.
Liver function in the human body:
This industry structure simultaneously acts as a storehouse, a manufacturing hub, and a processing plant. Each of these functions involves so many important subtasks that without the liver our body simply starts working.
The liver performs three major functions:
- It cleans the blood.
- It stores energy.
- It produces bile.
How the liver cleans blood?
The liver removes toxins from our blood. Breakdown of food during digestion produces nutrients and few toxins. Nutrients and toxins are together absorbed into the blood. Before supplying these materials to the body parts, blood passes through the liver. The liver removes the poisonous part, i.e the toxins from the blood. The nutrient-rich blood is then supplied to the body parts. The liver removes the separated toxins by sending them back into the intestine where they are removed. Bile function is to carry the toxins back to the intestine.
How liver stores energy?
Carbohydrate is the most abundant nutrient present in food. During digestion, the carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (simplest form of sugar). In this way, a large amount of glucose is produced and absorbed into the blood. As the blood enters the liver, the excess glucose is converted into glycogen and stored. During exercise, or other physical activities, when all the free glucose is used up, the liver converts the stored glycogen back to the glucose and releases it into the blood. Thus, the liver acts as a storehouse of energy.
How the liver produces bile?
Bile is a digestive juice that helps in the absorption of fat into the blood. Bile is produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder until required by the intestine for the digestion of fats.
Yes, your liver is magical. It can regenerate. If for some reason, only 25% of the liver remains healthy, it can regrow into a full-sized liver.
Common liver diseases:
The kinds of common liver diseases are
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Liver failure
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Drug toxicity
- Liver cancer
Symptoms and signs of liver disease:
Liver disease is a broad term for condition diseases or infections that can make the liver function improperly or stop liver function altogether. Liver disease initially can be silent. There are only early warning signs that you will need to know. The early symptoms of liver disease are:
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in weight
- Light-colored stool
- Dark urine
- Behavior changes
- Liver function test
- Family history (optional )
Learn what causes liver disease including viruses, bacterial, and chemical or physical changes. Liver disease isn’t always accompanied by symptoms. Check your family history. Liver disease can be inherited.
Look for yellowing of the eyes or the skin. It is also known as jaundice. Which is a clear indicator of liver disease?
Pay attention to changes in your relationship with food and eating including a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and changes in your weight.
Urine and stool :
Check your urine and stool. Liver disease indications include diarrhea, light-colored stool, and dark urine.
Feel the itch. Liver disease can give you an itch and sensation cannot be relieved.
Recognize what kind of stomachache happens with liver disease. Pain is common in the upper right side of the abdomen. Pay attention to muscle aches as well as these can also be a sign of liver disease.
Look for changes in behavior. Including depression, a loss of sex drive, fatigue, and a general feeling of illness known as malaise.
See your primary care physician and get a liver function test. If you have a liver disease your test will come back as irregular. Talk with your PCP about the steps you have to take for treatment.
Causes of liver disease and liver failure:
Causes of liver disease:
- Being obese.
- Chronic infections, such as hepatitis B&C
- Chronic medicines side effects
- Immune diseases
- Strong family history.
Liver failure causes:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver problem
- Alcohol abuse
Liver cancer is a disease that starts in the cells of your liver. Many kinds of cancer can shape your liver. The most common recognized kind of liver disease is hepatocellular carcinoma, which starts in the main kind of liver cell (hepatocyte). Other kinds of liver cancer, for example, intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatoblastoma, are not much common.
Risk factors for liver disease:
There are three commonest risk factors for CLD are
- excessive alcohol consumption
- blood-borne viruses like hepatitis C
Diagnosis of liver disease:
- Blood tests (liver function tests)
- Blood tests (specific liver problems)
- Blood tests (genetic conditions)
- CT scan
There is no single imaging system that will accurately recognize all HCC’s. Current procedures each have their strengths and weaknesses.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC or liver disease) can’t be analyzed by routine blood tests. There is just a single specific test that can be utilized towards a finding of HCC. This test specifically quantifies the levels of the protein alfa-fetoprotein in serum (AFP).
Ultrasound is commonly the first main screening test carried out if HCC is suspected. The accuracy of an ultrasound relies very much upon the authority or radiologist who performs the scan. Some practiced operators may have the option to detect lesions (areas of abnormal tissues) as small as 0.5cm. Others may just have the option to identify much larger lesions. The cost of an ultrasound is also lower than other types of scans.
When performed with an upgrading contrast agent CT scans can be similarly as sensitive as ultrasound. This is why the operator improves the imaging of the blood vessels and venous system. CT scans are considerably less operator-dependent than ultrasound. They also have the benefit of having the option to give pictures of more areas of the body. CT scans are more expensive than ultrasound and open individuals to ionizing radiation.
In this test, a catheter is embedded into the hepatic artery and intravenous contrast material is injected into the liver. It may be useful for surveying problematic lesions but it additionally includes ionizing radiation threats, blood vessel cut, and the association of contrast agent. Hepatic angiography is regularly done on people who are seen as at high risk anyway who have failed to give any signs of HCC with other imaging examines. At the time of angiography, if a tumor is recognized, it may be picked to deter the course dealing with the tumor and before injecting anticancer drugs into it (chemoembolization).
Magnetic resonance imaging:
MRI is getting progressively famous for the finding for hepatic tumors. Like a CT scan it can inspect large area of the chest and the mid part of the body in a single session. But there is no ionizing radiations is included the imaging can be repeated many times with little risk.
The fundamental clear way to tell the difference between a threatening or agreeable advancement is to see it by removing a sample of tissue and evaluating it under a microscope. This procedure is called a biopsy.
In this way, specialists put an instrument called a laparoscope into the body by a small cut in the belly. The laparoscope permits the specialist to look at the liver to assess for signs of HCC.
Fatty liver test and liver function test
- Blood tests
- Imaging procedures
- Liver tissue examination
A complication of liver disease that includes loss of liver cells and irreversible scarring of the liver is called cirrhosis.
There are many other causes of cirrhosis but hepatitis A&B and alcohol are the common and main causes. It can cause loss of craving, weakness, jaundice, tingling, fatigue, and wounding in the liver.
A decline in brain function that occurs because of severe liver disease is called hepatic encephalopathy. In this problem, the liver can’t enough expel poisons from your blood. This causes the development of poisons in your blood circulation system which can cause a blood damage problem.