Depending Upon The Liver

Liver is largest solid organ in the body, situated under rib cage, in the upper part of abdomen on the right side. It weighs around three pounds. The liver has a multitude of important & complex functions, like storing glycogen (fuel for the body) which is made from sugars. When required, glycogen is broken down into glucose which is released into bloodstream. It helps to process fats & proteins from digested food. It makes proteins which are essential for blood clotting. It helps remove or process alcohol, poisons & toxins from the body. It makes bile which passes from liver to gut & aids in intestinal absorption of fats & fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, & K. It processes & removes potentially harmful biochemical products produced by the body, such as bilirubin, from breakdown of old red blood cells & ammonia from breakdown of proteins & detoxifies by metabolizing and/or secreting, drugs, alcohol, & environmental toxins.

Liver in Disease
Cirrhosis is an abnormal liver condition in which there is irreversible scarring of liver. It is a slowly progressing disease where healthy liver tissue is replaced with scarred tissue, eventually preventing liver from functioning properly. Scarred tissue blocks flow of blood through liver & thereby slows processing of nutrients, hormones, drugs, & naturally produced toxins. It also slows production of proteins & other substances made by liver.

Chronic Alcoholism
Chronic alcoholism is the leading cause of cirrhosis. Consuming too much alcohol can cause liver to swell, which over time can lead to cirrhosis.

Chronic Viral Hepatitis
Chronic hepatitis C is the second leading cause of cirrhosis. Hepatitis C causes liver to swell, which over time can lead to cirrhosis. About one in four people with chronic hepatitis C develop cirrhosis. Chronic hepatitis B & hepatitis D also can cause cirrhosis.

Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NASH)
Fat build up in liver that is not caused by alcohol use, is non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH can cause liver to swell & can lead to cirrhosis. People with NASH often have other health issues including diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease & poor eating habits.

Bile Duct Disease
Bile duct disease limits or stops bile from flowing to small intestine. Bile backs up in liver causing liver to swell & can lead to cirrhosis. Two common bile duct diseases are primary sclerosing cholangitis & primary biliary cirrhosis.

Genetic diseases
Some genetic diseases can also lead to cirrhosis. These diseases include glycogen storage diseases, Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, autoimmune hepatitis, hemochromatosis, a condition in which excessive iron is absorbed & deposited into liver & other organs, & Wilson's disease, caused by abnormal storage of copper in liver.

·         Cirrhosis is a known risk factor for cancer of liver.
·         End stage liver disease can also lead to kidney failure.
·         Bruising (due to low platelet count and/or poor clotting)
·         Bleeding (due to decreased clotting proteins)
·         Sensitivity to medications (the liver processes medications in body)
·         Insulin resistance & type 2 diabetes
·         Hepatic encephalopathy (confusion due to effects of blood toxins on brain)
·        Gallstones (interference with bile flow can cause bile to harden & form stones)
·        Esophageal varices
·        Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)
     Edema & ascites

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