Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Liver facts
- Liver overview
- How large is the liver?
- Where is the liver located (liver anatomy)?
- What is the function of the liver?
- What special features enable the liver to do so much?
- What diseases affect the liver?
- How do liver diseases cause symptoms?
- What about blood tests for the diagnosis of liver disease?
- Why does the doctor examine the liver?
- What is a liver biopsy?
- What else is important about the liver?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
- The liver is the largest solid organ in the body, weighing on average about 3.5 pounds.
- The liver carries out a large number of critical functions, including manufacture of essential proteins, and metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
- The liver also serves to eliminate harmful biochemical waste products and detoxify alcohol, certain drugs, and environmental toxins.
- The liver forms and secretes bile that contains bile acids to aid in the digestion and intestinal absorption (taking in) of fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
- Diseases that may affect the liver include hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), cirrhosis (scarring), fatty liver, and liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma).
- Symptoms of liver disease may include bleeding or easy bruising, swelling, fatigue, and jaundice (yellow coloring to the skin and whites of the eyes).
The liver is the largest solid organ in the body. People may not know that the liver is also the largest gland in the body. The liver is actually two different types of gland. It is a secretory gland because it has a specialized structure that is designed to allow it to make and secrete bile into the bile ducts. It also is an endocrine gland since it makes and secretes chemicals directly into the blood that have effects on other organs in the body. Bile is a fluid that both aids in digestion and absorption of fats as well as carries waste products into the intestine.
There are all sorts of glands in the body that make and secrete substances, including the pancreas (digestive enzymes), thyroid and other endocrine glands (hormones), gastric glands in the stomach (acid), and lymph glands or nodes (lymph).
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