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Liver (Anatomy)

Liver (Anatomy) definition and Facts


The liver (Anatomy) is a large, meaty organ that sits on the right side of the belly. The liver has two large sections, called the right and the left lobes.

It is an essential organ that has many roles within the body, Liver (Anatomy) including making proteins and blood clotting factors, producing triglycerides and cholesterol, glycogen synthesis, and bile production.

The liver is a large organ that sits on the right-hand side of the stomach. The Liver (Anatomy) is your body’s largest internal organ.

Many different disease processes can happen in the liver, such as infections such as hepatitis, cirrhosis (scarring), cancers, and harm by toxins or medications.

Symptoms of liver disease may include:
  • Abdominal swelling and pain
  • Jaundice
  • Confusion,
  • Exhaustion, and Weight loss

Alcohol can be poisonous to the liver (hepatotoxic), especially in high doses, and long-term alcohol abuse is a common cause of liver disease.

The Liver (Anatomy) is involved in metabolizing many toxins, including drugs and drugs, chemicals, and natural compounds.

What is the Liver (Anatomy)? What’s its function?

The liver has several purposes. It makes lots of the chemicals required by the body function normally, it breaks down and detoxifies compounds in the body, and it also acts as a storage device.

Hepatocytes (hepar=liver + cyte=cell) are responsible for producing lots of the proteins (protein synthesis) from the body that are required for several functions, including blood clotting factors, and albumin, necessary to maintain fluid inside the circulation system.

The Liver (Anatomy) is also responsible for producing cholesterol and triglycerides.

Carbohydrates are also generated in the liver and also the organ is responsible for turning glucose into glycogen which can be stored both in the liver and in the gut cells.

The liver also makes bile that helps with food digestion.

It plays a significant role in detoxifying your system by converting ammonia, a byproduct of metabolism within the body, into urea that is excreted in the urine by the kidneys.

The liver also breaks down medications and drugs, including alcohol, and is responsible for breaking down insulin and other hormones within the body.

The liver is also stores vitamins and chemicals that the body requires as building blocks.

Included in these are:

  • Vitamin B12,
  • folic acid,
  • Iron required to make red blood cells,
  • For vision Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D for calcium absorption, and
  • Vitamin K helps the body to clot properly.

Is the Liver (Anatomy) a gland or an organ?

The liver is one of those very important organs of the body, responsible for countless chemical activities that the body needs to survive.

It is also a gland because it secretes substances that can be used by other parts of the body.

For all these reasons the liver is equally an organ and a gland; in fact, it is the largest internal organ in the human body.

What are the signs and symptoms of the liver disorder?

The Liver (Anatomy) is a large organ along a substantial amount of liver tissue that has to be damaged before an individual experiences symptoms of the disorder.

Symptoms may also depend on the type of liver disorder.

  • The inflammation of hepatitis may be related to 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 might be a propensity to bleed excessively or bruise easily because the liver is unable to manufacture blood-clotting variables in sufficient quantities.
  • Fatigue, weight loss, and shortness of breath due to muscle wasting; because of the inability of the liver to manufacture proteins.
  • Because the liver is involved in the metabolism of sex hormones, gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue in males ) and erectile dysfunction 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 from the liver.
  • Additionally, there might be difficulty in metabolizing ammonia inducing its levels in the blood to grow, leading to confusion because of encephalopathy (encephala=brain + pathy=dysfunction).

What does the liver look like? Where is it situated within the body?

The liver is divided into two lobes and get blood supply from two sources:

  1. The portal vein delivers blood from the gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestine, colon) and spleen, and
  2. The hepatic artery supplies blood in the heart.

The biliary tree describes a method of tubes that collect bile, used to help digest food, and drains it into the gallbladder or the intestine.

Intrahepatic ducts are inside the liver (intra=inside + hepar=liver) while extrahepatic ducts are located outside the liver.

Liver disease Causes and  Triggers (fatty liver, cirrhosis, hepatitis, and infections):

Liver disease
Liver disease

Many diseases may influence the liver directly or as a result of an illness or disease that starts in a different organ.

Fatty liver disease:

This type of liver disease, due to the accumulation of triglycerides and cholesterol inside the liver is not associated with alcohol misuse.

Fatty liver disease is also referred to as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).


Cirrhosis of the liver describes a state of scarring in the liver that’s not reversible and may lead to liver failure.

Alcohol abuse causes cirrhosis of the liver and is one of the most common causes of liver disease in North America.


It is a disease of the liver that causes liver inflammation.

Hepatitis A is often spread by poor sanitary habits such as poor handwashing and could be transmitted by food handlers. It tends to be more self-limited.

Hepatitis D is spread in conjunction with hepatitis B and requires the B virus in order for it to live in the human body and cause liver damage.

Hepatitis E is water or food-borne infection.

There are vaccinations available to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B.


Infections may affect the liver, for example:

  • Adenovirus
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Epstein Barr virus that causes infectious mononucleosis

Liver disease causes (drugs, toxins, genetics, cancer, and others)

Medications or drug-induced liver inflammation

Liver inflammation is a relatively common side effect of medications. Some commonly prescribed medications include the following:

  • Acetaminophen over the counter (Tylenol, Panadol) but also in prescription pain medications (hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lortab, Vicodin, Norco)
  • Statins (drugs used to control elevated blood cholesterol levels)
  • Antibiotics Compounds (amoxicillin-clavulanic acid [Augmentin, Augmentin XR], nitrofurantoin [Macrodantin, Furadantin, Macrobid], tetracycline, isoniazid)
  • methotrexate (Trexall, Rheumatrex)
  • Herbal remedies, for Instance, kava kava, mahuang, comfrey
  • Poisonous mushrooms may damage the liver and lead to liver failure.
  • Alcohol in massive doses may be toxic for the liver and damages the liver over time.
  • Aflatoxins produced by certain fungi are toxic to the liver
  • Industrial chemicals may be toxins that affect the liver, such as arsenic and carbon tetrachloride
Genetic disorders

Genetic disorders can affect the liver, examples include the following:

  • Hemochromatosis with iron storage
  • Wilson’s Disease with strange copper storage
  • Gilbert’s Infection with strange bilirubin metabolism
  • Main liver cancers arise directly from cells inside the liver.
  • Metastatic liver disease describes cancer that originates from another organ and invades the liver.
Abnormalities of bile flow in the liver

Abnormalities of bile flow from the liver may cause liver inflammation, such as:

  • Gallstones (the most Frequent disorder )
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis.
Decrease in blood circulation draining out of the liver

The decline in blood circulation draining out of the liver may cause the liver to become congested and inflamed, two examples include:

  • Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition where the heart isn’t strong enough to pump all the blood it receives, which blood may back up into the liver.
  • Budd Chiari syndrome disease in which blood clots form in the hepatic veins, preventing blood from leaving the liver.

What are liver function blood tests?

The liver is situated in the gut but the health care professional may wish to analyze the entire body to search for the results of liver disorder.

  • The abdomen could be palpated to feel for an enlarged liver. As it grows, the liver advantage may be felt under the right rib margin.

An inflamed liver in acute hepatitis could be tender but a liver that is cirrhotic, small and shrunken, might not be able to be felt.

  • If liver disease is a consideration, the health care professional also may feel for an enlarged spleen and assess whether surplus fluid is present in the abdomen (ascites), perhaps indicating the presence of portal hypertension.
  • The skin, including the sclera of the eyes, might be assessed for color searching for jaundice. Spider nevi or angiomata are a collection of blood vessels under the skin and might be ordinary, but in the proper setting may indicate liver disease.
  • When the individual is confused (hepatic encephalopathy), the health care provider may attempt to illicit asterixis or flap on the physical exam.
  • Blood tests might be ordered to help make the diagnosis. Liver enzyme levels can show liver inflammation. However, in patients with end-stage liver disease, the liver may burn itself out and the enzymes may be normal even in the face of acute disease.

Other blood tests that might be appropriate include a complete blood cell count (CBC), hepatitis virus screen, and blood clotting tests (a sensitive means to measure function because the liver is responsible for manufacturing the proteins involved in the blood clotting mechanism).

  • On occasion, ultrasound may be helpful in analyzing the anatomy of the liver and this might result in additional tests such as CT scan to further assess the anatomy and structure of the liver and surrounding cells.


What is a liver biopsy? Is it painful?

Most frequently, diseases of the liver could be identified by history, physical examination, and blood tests. On occasion, if the diagnosis is uncertain or to assess the level of harm to the liver, a liver biopsy may be necessary.

Employing a very thin needle, a gastroenterologist or hepatologist (two kinds of liver specialists) or an interventional radiologist will fit a very fine needle through the skin and into the liver, to recover a little bit of tissue.

This can then be examined under the microscope by a pathologist to help make the diagnosis.

Can liver disease be avoided?

  • Moderate alcohol intake to lower the danger of the most common reason for liver disease in North America.
  • The probability of contracting hepatitis B and hepatitis C can be diminished by reducing vulnerability to body fluids.
  • As stated previously, vaccinations are available for hepatitis A and B.
  • Keep a healthy weight and eat a balanced diet to lower the probability of developing fatty liver disease.

Which types of physicians treat liver disease?

  • Gastroenterologists are experts that are dedicated to the digestive organs and liver.
  • A hepatologist is a professional focused exclusively on the liver.

Depending upon the exact type of liver disorder, other specialists may be involved in the care of patients with liver disease, including infectious disease specialists, surgeons, oncologists, critical care specialists, hematologists, and emergency medicine specialists.

Ask your friends and loved ones for support.

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