Liver- The hard working organ in the human body


The liver is one of the largest and most crucial organs in the human body. It is the most hardworking organ of our body. It works non-stop and supports all important body functions. This article provides you with information on liver structure, facts, functions, diseases, tests and care for healthy liver and is useful for project work. July 28th is observed as World Hepatitis Day.

Structure of the Liver

The liver is triangular in shape. A person cannot live without a liver. The liver is dark reddish brown in colour with four unevenly sized lobes. The liver is located beneath the diaphragm and in the upper part of the abdomen. It weighs over 1 kg and contains about 13% of the blood supply at any given time. The liver has two blood supplies, the hepatic artery which transports oxygen-rich blood from the from the heart and the hepatic portal vein dropping off blood drained from the intestines and spleen. The liver consists of two main lobes which are made up of a number of lobules. The lobules are connected to small ducts which forms a larger duct forming a hepatic duct. The bile secreted by the liver is transported by the hepatic duct to the gallbladder and the first part of the intestine called the duodenum. The rapid changing food habits and lifestyle liver diseases are increasing rapidly. People suffering from obesity, diabetes, excessive alcohol intake, blood transfusions, exposure to certain chemical substances and high cholesterol are prone to liver diseases. A healthy liver helps us to lead a healthy life. Liver diseases can be managed if detected early and proper treatment is taken.

Facts about liver

  • Liver weighs about 3 pounds and measures 6 inches long
  • 100 different enzymes are produced by the liver to carry out biochemical reactions
  • It is the only organ that can regenerate itself and this makes it possible for one person to donate part of their liver to another person
  • Liver is associated with more than 500 functions
  • It produces about 1 litre of bile juice /day


Functions of the Liver

  • Liver is one of the important and hardworking organs of our body. It works day and night to protect our body by performing hundreds of functions. The liver performs the complex and most important functions of the body.
  • Liver secretes the bile juice which helps in breaking down the fats and further aids in digestion and absorption of the food. It breaks down the nutrients into simpler forms for easy use for the body
  • It helps in breaking and making of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, helps in conversion of excess glucose into glycogen for storage
  • Regulates blood clotting, blood levels of amino acids and information of building blocks of proteins
  • Plays an important role in excretion of many substances, helps in filtering the excess amino acids and converts them into urea
  • It neutralizes and removes cholesterol, alcohol, steroids, chemicals, poisonous substances some vitamins and drugs through the bile
  • Plays a key role in immunity, it protects the body from infections, produces antibodies to fight against infections and germs
  • Converts worn-out red blood cells into bile pigments which are eliminated through the bile, toxins are carried to the intestine from the liver through bile for its elimination
  • Helps in maintain energy supply constantly for the proper functioning of our body, acts as a safety valve for the heart
  • Regulates the chemical levels in the blood, cholesterol levels, thyroid hormones, vitamins and sex hormones, breaks down lipids and also builds them up


Causes of liver diseases

Liver diseases are caused due to several reasons. More than 100 types of liver diseases are identified. Viruses are the main cause of liver diseases in India. They form the major cause for public health issues. People with obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol are prone to liver diseases. Congenital problems which are present from birth are a common cause for the liver disease. Viral infections- hepatitis A, B, C, and hepatitis D, exposure to certain chemicals, blood transfusions, toxins in certain drugs, excessive fats in diet and inactivity /lack of adequate physical exercises and excessive alcohol consumption leads to liver diseases.

Symptoms of liver diseases

The symptoms of a person suffering from the liver disease can have a fever, fatigue, headache, weight loss, yellowish discolouration of the eyes and skin, Jaundice, dark coloured urine, abdominal pain, stool pale coloured, itching all over the body, tiredness and loss of appetite.

Liver diseases

Fatty Liver

This condition occurs when excessive amounts of fats get deposited in the liver cells. His is found in people who are overweight and is usually caused due to excessive intake of fatty foods. Alcohol and chloroform may also cause fatty liver.

Hepatitis

It is caused due to virus attack. The viruses that attack the liver are called hepatitis viruses. They cause inflammation of the liver. The hepatitis viruses differ from each other in their characteristics. When the virus stays in the liver for more than 6 months it leads to chronic state from infection. This leads to serious danger to the life.

Pellagra

In this case, the liver gets enlarged and becomes tender and may lead to jaundice. The person should completely avoid alcohol and should reduce food.

Liver failure

This is the state when the liver no longer functions. Many complications occur leading to a threat to a patient's life.

Liver cancer

Chronic hepatitis B and C may cause liver cancer if the patient has developed cirrhosis.

Cirrhosis

This disease is also due to consuming alcohol in older men. Due to poor nutrition and poisoning of fluids from industries. The symptoms include gas formation, indigestion, nausea, vomiting weight loss and abdominal pain. In the advanced state, the person develops markings resembling spiders on the face, neck, trunk and arms. There may be bleeding from the stomach. The person needs to consult a specialized doctor immediately for treatments.

Tests to detect liver diseases

  • Ultrasound/CT Scan imaging
  • Liver Biopsy


Caring and cure for hardworking liver

Taking care of our liver is very important to stay healthy. Proper nutrition helps to keep the liver healthy. Stay active. Having low fat and eating foods with fibre content is good for the liver. One should avoid excess salt and sugar, avoid overeating and should take small regular meals. Drinking water plenty of fluids help the liver. Organic foods should be preferred to avoid chemicals as it requires the liver to work hard to remove them. Fruits and vegetables should be washed to removes pesticides. Eat raw vegetables and more of whole grain products. Use steaming for cooking vegetables. Practicing safe sex and keeping proper weight helps in reducing the risk of liver diseases. Check for hepatitis infections and get vaccinated.

Healthy habits for liver

Prevention is better than cure, practice healthy habits to keep the liver healthy. Use bottled water for drinking and take precautions against mosquitoes. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and clean water. Take care to eat well-cooked food and use pasteurized dairy products. Avoid roadside foods and consult a doctor if you are ill. Keep medicines out of reach from children, do not mix medicines. Take medicines according to doctor's advice, avoid excessive doses. Consult a doctor if you have liver problems and get liver tested. Avoid alcohol/drink but keep in limits. If you have jaundice or any other liver diseases than stop alcohol completely. Stay in the well-ventilated atmosphere; avoid chemical and paints when exposed to them. Exercise regularly to keep your self-fit. Do not take liver for granted consult the doctor immediately if there are any symptoms related to the liver. Adjusting the lifestyles and with proper treatments and medication, one can cure liver diseases. The damage to the liver beyond repair then liver transplant is the only option. Some of the best foods that help in cleaning the liver include walnuts, lemon juice, leafy greens, beetroots, olive oil, garlic, apples, green tea, ladies finger, avocado.

World hepatitis day

The world hepatitis day is observed on 28th July worldwide every year to create awareness of viral hepatitis which causes liver cancer in people across the globe. The day marks with campaigns to promote prevention of risks of hepatitis diseases. The events of the day include concerts, stage shows, poster campaigns, free screenings, sports events, check-ups, talk shows, demonstrations, flash mobs and vaccination drives. Follow a healthy lifestyle to prevent Liver diseases and to lead a Normal Life
Read the articleHeart Diseases Causes Symptoms and Best ways to keep heart healthy

Note

This article is prepared after researching several medical journals. Care has been taken to check the information. The information contained in this article is not to be used for treatment purpose or for diagnosis of health issues. Please consult your doctors for health-related problems or queries that you may have.


Comments

Author: Juana03 Sep 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 8

Liver disorders affect children as well. There are over 100 types of liver disease that can afflict children. I am making mention of a few that are most common –

1. Chronic Active Hepatitis – This is a fairly common liver disease that affects children. It is quite similar to an allergic reaction. In this case, the cells in the liver are destroyed and get replaced with scar tissue. Why this happens is not understood.
2. Galactosaemia – This is a genetic disorder that is present at birth. It can lead to serious complications such as cirrhosis of the liver, cataracts and brain damage. What is known about the condition is that the patients do not have an enzyme that is needed to break down and digest the sugars present in milk. This leads to a build up of milk sugars in the liver and other internal organs.
3. Biliary Artesia – Children suffering from this disorder either have no bile ducts or the ducts are too tiny. Because of this, the liver fails to release bile and it results in cirrhosis of the liver and internal bleeding. It is a serious condition and is usually fatal. Children suffering from this disorder generally do not survive beyond the age of two.
4. Wilson’s Disease – This is again a genetic disorder where the anomaly leads to the accumulation of copper in the liver which causes brain damage and liver cirrhosis.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha05 Oct 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

Liver disease may happen because of ignorance of healthy practices so as to keep it active. Road-side eating, consumption of excess oil, spices and excess intake of alcohol, excess intake of foods at a time will have a disastrous effect.

It would be better if the health centres operating in the villages make a wide publicity of healthy upkeep of the liver by displaying posters wherein there will be an inclusion of the points required to maintain healthy functioning of the liver.
With the unhealthy practices where the green vegetables are painted with the chemicals to impart freshness, injecting some vegetables so as to multiply its growth in a short period, excessive use of pesticides and its improper washing by the end users may cause ingestion of pesticides along with the foods. Such practices may make the liver unhealthy and finally, the villagers have to pay a hefty amount to the doctors apart from the inconvenience due to the liver disorder.
The author has incorporated all the details of the liver disease and the means to overcome the same.

Author: Umesh07 Oct 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

A nice article exhaustively bringing out the functioning and importance of the liver in the human body.

The liver is such an important and delicate part of our body and it is imperative that we should have lifestyle appropriate to keep it in good condition. A regular routine of morning walks, exercises and good food habits are the keys to keep the liver in good condition. It is a well known and established fact that alcohol harms the human body in many ways and especially the liver which is very susceptible to it, so it is very necessary to avoid alcohol to protect the liver from its ill effects.

Our ancient way of life following Yoga and meditation is equally good for maintaining a better lifestyle and by adhering to these, one can have a healthy life keeping the body functions under proper control and leading to the functioning of vital parts like liver adequately.

Author: Sanjeev Gupta07 Oct 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

The liver is the most important organ of the body. Drinking plenty of water helps to fight with liver diseases. The most accurate way to diagnose the type of liver disease is to do a biopsy. In this method, the small tissue of the liver is removed with a thin needle for microscopic study. Liver cancer can be diagnosed by this method.

The liver has an extraordinary quality to regenerate, like if the part of the liver is cut it may grow by its own. When someone donates his lever it is cut and transplanted to someone, it grows by its own.

The most common disease of the liver are cancer, jaundice and hepatitis and the common causes of liver diseases are viruses, drugs, alcohol, immune system, etc.

The liver is an important part of the body as it helps in digestion and helps in eliminating biochemical waste of the body. Liver diseases are dangerous and can cause even death of the person so proper medication is required when someone is suffering from any liver disease.



  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name:
    Email: