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Just in case you missed our last discussion on Program: One Liver on Ice FM 96.1 in UJ, here is a summary of what we discussed. Feel free to ask your questions and drop your comments.

The Liver: How it looks, What it does and How it cries.

The liver is one of the largest organ we have as humans, it is actually the largest internal organ. An adult’s liver weighs about 1-1.5kg. It is wedge shape and it’s placed in the right upper part of our abdomen(belly).

. It performs many critical functions that affect metabolism throughout the body, including:

  • bile production, which is essential to digestion
  • filtering of toxins from the body
  • excretion of bilirubin (a product of broken-down red blood cells), cholesterol, hormones, and drugs
  • breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • activation of enzymes, which are specialized proteins essential to body functions
  • storage of glycogen (a form of sugar), minerals, and vitamins (A, D, E, and K)
  • synthesis of blood proteins, such as albumin and, synthesis of clotting factors._

The liver is a large organ and a significant amount of liver tissue needs to be damaged before a person experiences symptoms of disease. Symptoms also may depend upon the type of liver disease.
The inflammation of hepatitis may be associated with pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen, nausea and vomiting . This may also be seen in people with gallstones.
People may have jaundice (have a yellow-orange hue to their skin) because the liver cannot metabolize bilirubin (the normal breakdown product of old red blood cells).
There may be a tendency to bleed excessively or bruise easily because the liver is unable to manufacture blood clotting factors in adequate amounts.
Fatigue , weakness , weight loss , and shortness of breath because of muscle wasting; due to the inability of the liver to manufacture proteins.
Because the liver is involved in the metabolism of sex hormones, gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue in men) and impotence may occur.
In end-stage liver disease, ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity), and leg swelling may occur because of inadequate production of albumin by the liver.
There also may be difficulty in metabolizing ammonia causing its levels in the blood to rise, resulting in confusion due to encephalopathy (encephala=brain + pathy=dysfunction).

We only have one Liver, let’s keep it safe.