Liver (Anatomy and Function) (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.
In this Article
- What is the liver? Is it a gland or an organ?
- What is the functional purpose of the liver?
- What does the liver look like, and where is it located in the body?
- What diseases affect the liver?
- Fatty liver disease
- Genetic disorders
- Abnormalities of bile flow from the liver
- Decrease in blood flow draining from the liver
- What are symptoms of diseases of the liver?
- How is an examination of the liver performed?
- What is a liver biopsy?
- Can diseases of the liver be prevented?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What diseases affect the liver?
Many diseases may affect the liver directly or as a consequence of an illness or disease that begins in another organ.
Fatty liver disease
- Fatty liver disease, caused by accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides within the liver is not associated with alcohol abuse. Fatty liver disease is also referred to as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
- Cirrhosis of the liver describes a condition with scarring of the liver that is not reversible and may lead to liver failure.
- Alcohol abuse causes cirrhosis of the liver and is the most common cause of liver disease in North America.
Infections may affect the liver, including:
- Epstein Barr virus that causes infectious mononucleosis
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Hepatitis is an infection of the liver that causes liver inflammation.
- Hepatitis A is often spread by poor sanitary habits including poor handwashing and may be transmitted by food handlers. It tends to be self-limited.
- Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are spread by contact with infected body fluids.
- Hepatitis D is spread in conjunction with hepatitis B and needs the B virus for it to survive in the body and cause liver damage.
- Hepatitis E is a food or water borne infection.
- There are vaccinations available to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Viewers share their comments
Find out what women really need.