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Dr. Maria King

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We live in the age of information. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that information is considered as valuable as time and money. But wrong information is a deadly thing. A lot of myth has spread around on one of the most important organs in the human body: Liver. This lies could prove deadly to anyone who believes in them as it could stall the diagnosis and treatment for liver diseases. So, let’s unearth these lies and separate the fact from the fiction.

So what is the liver?

It is an organ that one can’t live without. Your liver is the largest internal organ in your body–by internal organs, we mean the parts of the body that you can’t see with your naked eye–and the second largest organ after your skin. Yes, your skin is an organ. We have covered this in detail in our blog on seven habits for healthy skin.

Shaped like a diagonally cut slice of brown bread, it is reddish-brown in color and feels rubbery to touch. In case you are wondering how it feels since you want to touch it, which is a very rational desire to harbor. But where is the liver? Usually, you can’t feel it as it is protected by the ribcage, for better or worse. Talking about liver anatomy, the liver has two large segments, called the right and the left lobes. It sits titled in the body’s cavity, with the left portion above your stomach.

What does the liver do?

It lives and let lives. You can’t survive without your liver. Although it just one organ, it performs the task of several organs. The liver’s main objective is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. Here are the other things that the liver do:

  • It produces bile, which helps carry away waste, and during digestion, it breaks down fats in the small intestine
  • The liver produces certain proteins for blood plasma
  • It produces cholesterol and special proteins that help in transporting fats through the body.
  • The liver stores and releases glucose as the need arises
  • It processes hemoglobin
  • The liver converts harmful ammonia to urea
  • It filters the blood and clears it of drugs and other harmful substances
  • The liver regulates blood clotting
  • It removes bacteria from the bloodstream
  • The liver not only secretes bile but also clears bilirubin

Now, let’s check some facts and see if they are actually facts or fiction.

The liver can grow back

Fact

A healthy liver has the amazing ability to regenerate when it is damaged. The liver is the only known visceral organ that possesses this ability.  Its capacity to regenerate is really astounding. The liver can completely restore itself after either surgical removal or after a chemical injury. It is known that as little as twenty-five percent of the original liver mass can grow back to its full size.

Fatty liver only affects fat people

Fiction

This is nothing but a blatant lie. Any who says this doesn’t know what causes fatty liver. People of any weight can get fatty liver disease. And this also possible for lean people who do not have any other underlying health problems. Fatty liver can come from living an unhealthy lifestyle, like not eating the right foods or exercising regularly. It has nothing to do with your weight. This fact has been clearly quoted by many General attending and surgeons from Kims Hospital. However, more weight increases your chances of having a fatty liver. It is usually a benign condition but can lead to liver failure. A variety of fatty liver treatment is available for fatty liver patients.

Liver Inflammation is dangerous

Fact

In the early stage of any liver disease, the liver usually becomes inflamed. It sometimes becomes tender and enlarged. Inflammation shows that the body is trying to fight an infection. It can also convey that the body is trying to heal an injury. But if the inflammation continues over time, it can end up damaging the liver permanently.

Liver conditions can be detected with a regular blood test

Fiction

Doctors from professional and highly popular healthcare names like kims often consider liver disease as a “silent” condition as its various forms rarely have any symptoms. Specific blood tests are rarely prescribed to check liver function. This could partly explain the often very late diagnosis of liver disease.  The various types of liver disease usually have no symptoms at all. Hepatitis A, B, and C, as well as cirrhosis, are sometimes diagnosed twenty to thirty years later.

Liver failure means loss of liver function

Fact

Liver failure actually means the loss of liver function, such as filtering blood coming from the digestive system or secreting bile into the small intestine. Doctors used the words liver failure to convey the fact that the liver is slowly losing its function or has already lost all of its functions.  Nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and diarrhea are often the first symptoms. As these symptoms can have several causes, it is hard to tell that the liver is failing and hence difficult to diagnose the liver failure.

Liver failure is a life-threatening condition. If you feel like you might be suffering from it, then contact your nearest hepatologist today.

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