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Liver and Liver failure

Updated on December 25, 2012


The liver is a vital organ located in the right upper area of your abdomen under the ribs. It is the largest internal organ of the human body and weighs around 1.5kg in the average adult.

Have you ever knew that the liver performs over 500 different functions!

Functions of liver

  1. production of bile that is required in the digestion of food, in particular fats;
  2. storing of the extra glucose or sugar in the body into stored glycogen in liver cells; and then converting it back into glucose when the the body needs it for energy;
  3. production of blood clotting factors
  4. production of amino acids (the building blocks for making proteins), including those used to help fight infection

    the processing and storage of iron necessary for red blood cell production;

  5. manufacture of cholesterol and other chemicals required for fat transport;
  6. conversion of waste products of body metabolism into urea that is excreted in the urine, metabolizating medications into their active ingredient in the body.


Liver failure - There are two general types of liver failure:

  1. Acute liver failure is a failure of liver function that occurs suddenly due to such conditions as an overdose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ingestion of toxic substances.
  2. Chronic liver failure is a deterioration of liver function that occurs over a long period of time, generally months to years. Chronic liver failure is the most common form of liver failure and is generally due to long-term liver diseases, such as cirrhosis of the liver and hemochromatosis.

    Cirrhosis of the liver is caused by an underlying disease or condition that leads to the formation of scar tissue in the liver. Scar tissue reduces the liver's ability to carry out vital functions

Liver failure couses

  • Acetaminophen overdose. Taking too much acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States
  • Herbal supplements. Herbal drugs and supplements, including kava, ephedra, skullcap and pennyroyal, have been linked to acute liver failure.
  • Prescription medications. Some prescription medications, including antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and anticonvulsants, can cause acute liver failure.
  • Hepatitis and other viruses. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis E can cause acute liver failure. Other viruses that can cause acute liver failure include Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus.
  • Toxins. Toxins that can cause acute liver failure include the poisonous wild mushroom Amanita phalloides, which is sometimes mistaken for edible species.
  • Autoimmune disease. Liver failure can be caused by autoimmune hepatitis - a disease in which your immune system attacks liver cells, causing inflammation and injury.
  • Diseases of the veins in the liver. Vascular diseases, such as Budd-Chiari syndrome, can cause blockages to form in the veins of the liver and lead to acute liver failure.
  • Cancer. Cancer that begins in your liver or cancer that spreads to your liver from other places in your body can cause your liver to fail


Jaundice is usually the first sign, and sometimes the only sign, of liver disease

With jaundice, the skin and the whites of the eyes take on a yellowish color as a result of the accumulation of bilirubin and bile pigments in the blood. This is a sign that the liver or the biliary system is not functioning properly



How to prevent

  1. The most easiest prevention is that we should never forget to read the side effects of the medicines used and look for the warnings involving liver toxicity or hepatic damage.
  2. Good diet is the key for curing our Liver so always remember to keep an eye on the diet and use a good
  3. Alcohol is also a major cause of acute Liver problems like fatty liver, hepatitis, and cirrhosis. Preferably the use of Alcohol should be stopped to avoid its negative impact on Liver nutritional diet
  4. Liver is affected quickly and mostly by sexual transmitted diseases like AIDS(HIV) so care must be taken before selecting before intercourse because if the partner has some hepatitis A,B or C symptoms then it is very likely that the disease will be transmitted so you should be very careful to prevent that the disease does not get transmitted to you from your partner.
  5. Blood transfusion is another indirect cause of Liver Failure in Human beings and before any type of blood transfusion care must be taken that the blood donor is free of diseases specially HIV and Hepatitis. Moreover you should never use the needles that may have been used by someone else.
  6. Avoid going to particular areas or cities where there is a major liver problem due to hepatitis because preventive measure are often better than Liver Cure.
  7. Regular checking of liver enzyme testing should be made especially if you have ever experienced jaundice

In the end - Liver Disease Song! :)


I'm interesting how many people have liver failure

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