The liver is one of the biggest organs in the body. It is responsible for numerous significant metabolic functions. It transforms the nutrients in the foods you consume into substances that the body can use, stores these substances, and provides cells with them when necessary. Another key function of the liver is it takes up toxic substances and turns them into harmless substances or makes sure they are released from the body.
The human adult liver weighs about 3.1 pounds and is found in the right upper abdomen, right below the diaphragm. It is quite large, so it takes up most of the space under the ribs and even some space in the left upper abdomen. If you viewed it from the outside, you can easily distinguish a larger right lobe and smaller left lobe. These two lobes are split up by a band of connective tissue that keeps the liver in the abdominal cavity. The gallbladder, where bile is kept, is found in the small hollow near the liver.
Liver tissue is made up of many miniscule units of liver cells that are called lobules. Lots of canals that carry blood and bile run between the liver cells. Blood that comes from the gallbladder, and pancreas flows through the portal vein to the liver, thus carrying nutrients, medication and even toxic substances. Once these substances get to the liver, they are processed, stored, transformed, detoxified, and passed back into the blood or released in the bowel to be eliminated. This process allows the liver to, for example, get rid of alcohol from your blood and remove by-products from the breakdown of medications.
The liver, with the help of vitamin K, creates proteins that are preventers of blood clotting. It also plays a vital role in all metabolic processes in the body. In fat metabolism, the liver cells break down fats and in turn produces energy. They produce about 800 ml of bile per day. This olive green liquid is collected in small ducts and then goes through the main bile duct, which carries it to the part of the small intestine called the duodenum. As mentioned, bile is critical for the breakdown and absorption of fats.
The liver also plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, as it helps to ensure that the level of sugar in your blood, otherwise known as blood glucose, stays continuous. When blood sugar levels go up, like after a meal, the liver takes the sugar from blood supplied by the portal vein and keeps it in the form of glycogen. On the other hand, if someone’s blood sugar levels are lower, the liver breaks down the glycogen and releases sugar into the blood. In addition to sugar, it also keeps vitamins and minerals, such as iron and copper, and lets them into the blood when necessary. It’s important to test for blood sugar, at least annually, and we recommend a simple blood test that you can order online.
The liver plays a significant role in protein metabolism. The liver cells transform amino acids in foods, in order for them to be used to create energy or produce fats or carbohydrates. There is a toxic substance that is called ammonia, and it is a consequence of this process. The cells in the liver turn ammonia to a less toxic substance called urea, and it is released into the blood. Urea is then moved to the kidneys and leaves the body in urine.
The liver is a very important organ as it continually filters toxins, drugs, and wastes the body creates. A healthy liver is imperative for the body to function properly. Increased use of prescription, over-the-counter drugs, alcohol consumption, and illegal drugs can inhibit the liver from doing its job. The liver has to break down alcohol and drugs to remove it from the body.
Taking both prescription drugs, illegal drugs or drinking alcohol in excess can lead to a damaged liver. Even worse is taking drugs and alcohol together. For example, some people are mixing drugs, like off-the-shelf acetaminophen, and alcohol; a combination that can lead to acute liver failure.
The liver is an amazing organ not only because it is a great filter for our bodies but also because it is the only internal organ that can regenerate itself. Even though it is a regenerative organ that does not mean you can abuse it and you will be fine!
The liver is also a great source for storing certain vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins and minerals, such as iron, are stored in the liver until needed. Then the liver releases them to the blood as necessary. The liver also generates bile, which is a greenish alkaline fluid that aids digestion to break down fats. It’s important to make sure your liver is functioning correctly and we recommend you get your liver checked with an inexpensive and easy blood test at HealthOneLabs.com Simply order your liver test online, get your blood drawn at a local patient service center and then you can review your results.
Different Components of a Liver Test
There is a blood test, also known as hepatic function test, that is used to screen the liver to see if it is functioning normally. Levels for the following are included in the test are bilirubin, liver enzymes, and blood proteins. There are many acronyms associated with the different components of this blood test and there are acceptable levels that physicians use to help diagnose problems with the liver. Albumin, Globulin and Total Protein levels are used to measure the amount and type of protein in your blood. They are a useful index of total health and nutrition. Abnormal results are an indicator of malnutrition, liver or kidney disease, cirrhosis, multiple myeloma, sarcoid, amyloid, lupus, and/or major infections. Globulin is the antibody protein important for fighting disease. If one of these values is high, but the other values are within expected ranges, the result is probably not significant, but only your physician can confirm this. See the discount online blood lab tests available that you can order yourself to see if your liver is functioning properly.
The Gamma GT (GGT) component is a liver enzyme whose elevation may indicate liver disease. Moderate intake of alcohol and some common medications may cause elevated levels to occur. Bilirubin is a primary pigment found in bile. It is derived from hemoglobin and prepared by the liver and builds up when the liver is functioning poorly or when some other disorder reduces the normal flow of bile. It is expanded also when there has been elimination of red blood cells. Finally, AST and ALT are caused by injury to cells which then releases these enzymes into the blood. Liver disease and heart attacks, as well as severe physical injury can cause elevation of these values. small values are probably not significant, but can only be confirmed by your physician.
Maintaining a healthy liver is crucial for your overall health, as there are many common liver diseases. Fatty liver disease is when there is extra fat in the liver cells and is typically associated with those that drink too much alcohol. This type of diseases generally does not have any symptoms. If diagnosed, fatty liver disease will go away once alcohol is eliminated from the diet. Hepatitis B is a severe liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis purpose the liver to swell and become damaged. Hepatitis C is an infection produce by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver; hard scar tissue replaces soft healthy tissue Cirrhosis occurs in response to chronic damage to your liver. If you believe you may be suffering from any of these liver diseases, it is important that you see your primary health physician to find a course of action that works best for you.
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