Common Characteristics of Liver Disease

By | January 13, 2018

The liver is located in the upper right of the abdominal cavity below the diaphragm and above the stomach, right kidney and intestines. The liver, an organ of dark reddish brown weighing about 1.3 kg (3 lbs), has multiple functions.

Illustration of the anatomy of the digestive system of an adult

Blood to the liver comes from two sources:

• The oxygenated blood reaches the liver through the hepatic artery.
• Nutrient-rich blood comes through the hepatic portal vein.
• Liver holds about 13 percent of the total body blood at any given time.

The liver consists of two main lobes, consisting of thousands of lobules. These lobules are connected to small ducts that, in turn, are connected with larger ducts to ultimately form the hepatic duct. This duct transports bile produced by hepatocytes to the gallbladder and duodenum (first part of the small intestine).

What are the functions of the liver?

The liver regulates most chemical levels in the blood and excretes a product called bile, which helps break down fats, preparing them for further digestion and absorption. All the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver. The liver processes this blood and breaks down the nutrients and drugs from the blood into forms easier to use for the rest of the body. There are more than 500 vital functions related to the liver. Among the most popular features include the following:

• the production of bile, which helps carry away waste and break down fats in the small intestine during digestion
• production of certain proteins for blood plasma
• the production of cholesterol and special proteins to help carry fats through the body
• the conversion of excess glucose into glycogen for storage (glycogen can later be converted back to glucose for energy)
• the regulation of blood levels of amino acids, which form the building blocks of proteins
• processing of hemoglobin for use of its iron content (the liver stores iron)
• conversion of poisonous ammonia to urea (urea is an end product of protein metabolism and is excreted in the urine)

The liver, as the central organ of metabolism, is exposed to a multitude of hazards. Are mainly those harmful agents (Alcohol, drugs, poor diet) that access to the liver from the gastrointestinal tract. However, also viral diseases (hepatitis B and C) can cause liver damage.

All these injuries not only have consequences on the liver itself, but in advanced stages can cause liver failure and thus threaten the entire organization.

The primary liver disease is:

• Fatty Liver: Accumulation of triglycerides (fats) in liver cells.
• Hepatitis B and C: Inflammation of the liver by viruses can become chronic and progress to cirrhosis.
• Cirrhosis: State terminal liver disease (above); scarring of liver tissue, including liver cell death.
• Hepatic encephalopathy: a set of neuropsychiatric abnormalities, potentially reversible, associated with the failure of the acute and chronic liver function. At first the symptoms are mild, but can reach up to hepatic coma.

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