A Peek Inside Series: The Human Liver
Organs are our friends….
Hello, friends. Today I was trying to think of something to blog about in the health realm. There is so much to talk about. I have a million diseases to gross you out with and numerous body functions and health topics to lecture about. To be honest it’s one of those days I wish I had saved my books from graduate school on anatomy.
What I decided to do was a series of the important organs of the body. Where to start? Everything is important! With the possible exception of the appendix, you pretty much need all of them. I guess the brain would be the most important, followed by the heart. How should I choose?
Well for dinner tonight, my current suitor asked me to make him some liver and onions. Yes, my life is that random. So liver it is. I read up and there is a ton of information on the liver. Per tradition, I will try to give you some of the information you can use without scarring you for life or boring you to sleep.
The Human Liver
We often don’t think of the liver much. It is not very glamorous. It just sits on top of the abdominal area like a big old blob. Relaxing, not making noise like the heart or stomach, the liver keeps a low profile.
However, it is very important and knowing if it is functional or defective is hugely important.
Where is the liver anyway?
The liver is a large, two lobe organ under the ribs and the top right quadrant of the abdomen. It is directly under the diaphragm and above the gallbladder and stomach.
What does the liver actually do?
The liver works! It is part of the beautiful machine known as the human body. The main jobs of the liver include but are not limited to:
- Removing excess amino acids from blood
- Turns them to urea
- Excretes them via kidneys
- Synthesizes vitamins and minerals
- Produces bile that helps break down fats
- Produces blood clotting factors
- Pumps 1500ml of blood a minute in a healthy adult about 6.5 cups)
- Largest internal organ and gland in human
- Converts digested food to energy
- Controls fat and sugar going into body
- Removes toxins from blood
- …. And much more
See, it is very important! When the liver is hurt or not maintained properly, all types of problems can arise.
Symptoms of liver problems: These are just some of the symptoms and they can mean something else. I know that falls into the confusion category but hear me out. Some are very important and you need to know this.
- Jaundice : Not just “yellowing” of the skin. In some, it can be an orange or even tan color. This is a classic symptom of several issues with the kidney including hepatitis, liver disease, or a buildup of bile. It falls under the go straight to the doctor category of symptoms.
- Exhaustion: energy may be suppressed
- Edema: swelling of the legs or other extremities
- Loss of appetite
- Lump on right or left side: can be something else again, speak with a physician
- Bruising easily
- Stomach pains; especially sharp pains
Primary liver problems:
- Cirrhosis (often from alcoholism)
- Fatty Liver disease
- Enlarged spleen
- Wilson’s disease
- Liver cancer
Primary liver malfunction risk factors:
- Lack of clean water
- Recreational drug use
- Habits that can lead to sexually transmitted illness like Hepatitis
- Unclean blood transfusions
- Family history of Wilson’s disease or endocrine failure
- Cancer in a different organ that is not benign
What to do to get your liver healthy and keep it healthy?
Sometimes, it is simple and sometimes it requires a bit of effort. That is almost everything worthwhile in life. Simple liver pain may be treated by medication and a warm compress. However, a healthy diet and exercise is the number one thing that will help the liver. I know this is a recurring theme with me, but the truth is often repeated. A lot of water is great. Keeping alcohol, soda, and super caffeinated drinks to a minimum is great.
If you look at the risk factors, a lot of those can be dodged. That is why it is so important to pay attention to what you need to do to keep you and your family healthy. We all will die. The goal is to be happy and healthy as long as possible and avoid pitfalls where ever possible.
What organ should I look into next?
Let me know! I am at AskMelissa@melissaweblog.com
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Fun look at liver: http://www.innerbody.com/image_digeov/card10-new2.html
Love and Light,