How Well Do You Know Your Liver?

HepatitisHow well do you really know your liver? Did you know that it has approximately 500 different functions? Read below to learn something new about the second-largest organ in your body.

What does your liver do?

Your liver’s main function, along with its 500 other tasks, is to remove toxins from your bloodstream. It also produces bile, a liquid substance that aids digestion, and helps transfer what you eat and drink into energy and nutrients. It also helps your body use carbs and helps prevent your blood from clotting.

How big is your liver?

Your liver is about the size of a football, weighs approximately 3 pounds, and is the largest organ in your body, not counting your skin.

How do you know if your liver is healthy?

You can use a blood test, administered by a doctor, to tell if your liver is functioning correctly. The doctor can tell if your liver is infected, damaged, or diseased by taking a series of samples, also known as a hepatic function panel or liver profile.

Can the liver grow back?

Your liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself after it is has been damaged or if a part of it has been removed; hence why people are able to give parts of their livers to loved ones in need. WebMD says you don’t have to be related to the patient you’re donating to, but most often donors are relatives or friends of the family.

Why is alcohol bad for your liver?

Drinking more alcohol than your liver can process will damage liver cells. Your liver breaks down the alcohol you drink to get it out of your body, while too much alcohol can overwhelm your liver and maybe even cause disease. Alcohol-related liver diseases include fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and alcoholic cirrhosis.

How will I know if I have a liver disease?

The warning signs of liver disease are most often vague and sometimes impossible to detect on your own. If you do have symptoms, WebMD says to watch out for itchy skin, belly swelling, dark urine, confusion, or yellowing of the eyes or skin. Be sure to contact your doctor for blood tests to find out if your liver is the issue.

Should I try a liver detox?

While certain “cleanses” have been gaining popularity, WebMD says there is no scientific proof that these detox diets actually work. Instead of trying to wash away toxins in a week or two, you can gradually change your diet to a healthy one that includes the nutrients your liver needs to do its job.

 

Make sure to consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for all health related advice.

Story Credit

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Jeremy T. Hetzel

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