The second largest organ (after skin) and weighing at between 1.4-1.6 kg, your liver plays a vital role in your body. It literally supports your other body organs through the various processes it undertakes. Located just below your diaphragm and overlying your gallbladder, the liver is connected to two large blood vessels that supply it with blood, oxygen and nutrients. The hepatic artery brings into your liver blood from the aorta while the portal vein brings in blood that contains vital nutrients from the pancreas, spleen and gastrointestinal tract. In turn, your liver serves your other body organs through various ducts including bile ducts, hepatic ducts and cystic duct. To protect your liver from coming into contact with your other surrounding body organs and cause friction, the liver is covered by a double-layered membrane.
Liver functions are many and vital. Function of the liver can neither be replaced artificially nor performed by any other body organ. It is actually your lifeline. Some of the liver functions that are mainly performed by the highly specialized liver cells include the metabolism and synthesis of carbohydrates (glucose and glycogen), amino acids, production of red blood cells, bile, various hormones, breakdown of insulin, toxic substances (including medications) and conversion of ammonia into urea. The various function of the liver makes it highly susceptible to liver disease, a general term for various liver ailments. Some of the liver problems include:
- Virus infections – Liver virus infections lead to liver inflammation. Inflammation can also be caused by liver alcohol and Hepatitis. Alcohol liver disease is mainly caused by excess consumption of alcohol.
- Obesity – Obesity presents various health problems, including fatty liver disease. Fatty liver can in turn cause cirrhosis of the liver, which prevents the replacement of dead liver cells.
- Iron accumulation – Iron accumulation problem is a hereditary condition that can lead to liver failure.
- Gastrointestinal tract infections – A healthy gastrointestinal tract means a healthy liver. Any infection of the tract can affect your liver health, with cancer of the liver being the worst.
These are just some of liver diseases that can infect your liver. Other health conditions can also cause liver diseases. Apart from liver pain that comes about because of liver infection, you are also bound to have liver enzymes high in your blood. Although liver diseases can seriously affect liver functions, liver repair is possible to a certain point. Liver repair or regeneration as it is commonly known is a process that your liver takes on its own to repair its damaged sections.
Symptoms of liver disease are normally apparent and include pale stool, dark urine, yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice), general body weakness, swelling of joints and abdomen. If you present these symptoms of liver disease, your doctor will likely recommend liver test to confirm the presence of liver disease. While blood test is the common liver test, liver function test is normally carried out to ascertain the extent of liver failure. If your liver totally fails, liver transplantation is normally undertaken. Liver transplant happens to be the only liver treatment available now. This is however undertaken only when it has been established that your liver has failed. Although medication for liver are available, they may not be effective in treating failed liver. Otherwise, you can ensure a healthy liver by sticking to a healthy diet for liver. Such will act as liver detox or liver cleanser. There is no specific diet for liver and you should consider a healthy diet so. Such will act perfectly as liver flush, flushing out all toxic materials from the liver, leaving healthy.