Liver – an overview / Protect your liver by knowing it better 

Liver – an overview / Protect your liver by knowing it better 

The liver is an important organ of the human body which performs various important functions. Liver also acts as a gland since it secretes many digestive juices that take part in the process of digestion. Liver has specialized tissue that contain hepatocytes. Hepatocytes are responsible for regulating various biochemical reactions including the synthesis and breakdown of small and complex molecules. The liver is located in the upper right-hand portion of the abdominal cavity, beneath the diaphragm, and on top of the stomach, right kidney, and intestines.

Functions of the liver:

  • Production of bile, which helps carry away waste and break down fats in the small intestine during digestion.
  • Production of proteins for blood plasma
  • Production of cholesterol and certain other proteins to help carry fats through the body
  • Conversion of excess glucose into glycogen for storage (glycogen can later be converted back to glucose for energy) and to balance and make glucose as and when needed
  • Regulation of levels of amino acids (building blocks of proteins) in the blood
  • Storage of iron from haemoglobin
  • Conversion of toxic ammonia to urea (urea is an end product of protein metabolism and is excreted through the urine). Ammonia has negative impact on the liver.
  • Clears blood from harmful drugs or other dangerous elements
  • Regulates blood clot
  • Reduce infections by making immune factors and keeping the bloodstream free from bacteria
  • Clearance of bilirubin, also from red blood cells. If there is an accumulation of bilirubin, the skin and eyes turn yellow.

The liver is a vital organ and supports many other organs in the body as well as performs diverse significant biochemical reactions. Since liver has multidimensional functions, it is also prone to many diseases. The location of the liver makes the transfer of any infection from the abdominal cavity to thoracic cavity easy.

Causes of liver damage:

  • Hepatitis A,B,C,D,E
  • Long-term alcohol consumption
  • Cirrhosis (loss of hepatocytes and irreversible liver scarring)
  • Hemochromatosis (an inherited disorder that causes the body to absorb and store too much iron)
  • Malnutrition
  • Epstein Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis)

 

Symptoms of liver damage:

The early symptoms of liver damage include – nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue and diarrhoea

The symptoms exhibited when more damage is caused to the liver include – jaundice, bleeding easily, swollen abdomen, mental disorientation or confusion (known as hepatic encephalopathy), sleepiness, coma.

How to protect yourself against liver damage?

  • A hepatitis vaccine or an immunoglobulin shot should be taken to prevent hepatitis A or B.
  • Alcohol should be consumed in limit and it should be avoided when acetaminophen is used.
  • Regular medical screening and consultation with doctor.
  • Proper hygiene is to be maintained.
  • Any items of personal hygiene should not be shared.
  • Use of protection or contraception when having sex.
  • Leading a healthy lifestyle (regular exercise, diet control, weight control)

Adhering to all the above mentioned points doesn’t ensure that a person cannot get his liver damaged. However, it certainly will have a less negative impact on the liver and thus reducing the risk of getting our liver damaged.

Categories: Health

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