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Get to Know Your Liver Quiz

Answers FAQ

Get to Know Your Liver FAQs

Reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP on November 19, 2019

Take the Get to Know Your Liver Quiz Quiz First! Before reading this FAQ, challenge yourself and
Test your Knowledge!

Q:What does the liver do?

A:The liver has more than 500 essential functions in the body, including filtering the blood.

It helps metabolize medications and detoxifies chemicals. The liver also produces bile which helps with digestion, metabolizes bilirubin, helps with clotting factor production, metabolizes fats and carbohydrates, and it stores vitamins and minerals.

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Q:The liver weighs about one pound. True or false?

A:False.

The liver is the second-largest organ within the body (on the outside, the skin in the largest organ overall), weighing in at an average of 3 pounds in adults, and measuring about 6 inches in width. It is located in the upper right side of the abdomen, below the ribcage.

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Q:The health of the liver is determined by blood tests. True or false?

A:True.

A liver function panel (also called a hepatic function panel) is a series of several different blood tests performed at the same time that can help detect liver inflammation (hepatitis), liver damage or disease, and liver infection.

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Q:The liver can regenerate. True or false?

A:True.

The liver is the only visceral organ that can grow back if it is damaged or part of it is removed. As long as at least 25% of the tissue remains, the liver can regenerate back to its original size in just weeks. This is why people are able to donate a piece of their liver to those who need liver transplants.

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Q:It is important to perform a liver detox regularly. True or false?

A:False.

There is no evidence that liver detoxes work. If your liver is healthy, it will "detox" itself. Products that claim to cleanse the body after overindulgence in food or drink are not regulated by the FDA and have not been adequately tested or proven to work.

There are some herbal remedies that may help: milk thistle may decrease liver inflammation and turmeric extract may protect against liver injury. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements as they may cause unwanted side effects or interact with medications you take.

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Q:Heavy alcohol use can lead to many types of liver diseases. True or false?

A:True.

Heavy alcohol use can lead to a number of different types of alcohol-related liver diseases including:

  • alcoholic cirrhosis – scar tissue on the liver
  • fatty liver disease – excess fat in the liver
  • alcoholic hepatitis – inflammation of the liver

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Q:Taking too much acetaminophen can damage the liver. True or false?

A:True.

Too much acetaminophen can damage the liver. In addition to being the primary medication in Tylenol, acetaminophen is found in hundreds of other medicines, from over-the-counter (OTC) pain, cough, and cold remedies to prescription products such as Vicodin and Percocet.

When taken as directed, acetaminophen is generally safe. Adults should take no more than a maximum daily dose of 3 g, with no more than 650 mg every 6 hours. Do not take more than directed as even small amounts above the recommendations can damage the liver.

People who have liver disease or drink more than three alcoholic beverages daily are at greater risk of liver damage if they also use acetaminophen.

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Q:Many people with liver disease have no symptoms. True or false?

A:True.

Many people with liver disease have no symptoms, especially in the early stages. By the time symptoms occur, the liver may be badly damaged, such as scarring from cirrhosis. When symptoms do appear, they can be nonspecific, such as fatigue and muscle aches. Other symptoms of liver disease include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Distended abdomen
  • Dark urine
  • Loss of appetite/weight loss
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Yellowing of eyes or skin (jaundice)

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Q:Vaccines are available for some forms of hepatitis. True or false?

A:True.

Hepatitis is a disease that affects the liver. There are vaccines for both hepatitis A and B, but not for hepatitis C.

The hepatitis A vaccines is routinely given to children in 2 doses. The first dose is given between 12 to 23 months of age and the second dose is given from 2 to 4 years of age (or sooner as long as it's at least 6 months from the first dose). Children older than 23 months may also get the vaccine, as well as adults who have not been previously vaccinated.

The hepatitis B vaccine is routinely given to children in 3 doses. The first dose is given at birth, followed by the second dose at 1 to 2 months, and the third dose given at 6 to 18 months. Children under 19 years who have not been vaccinated may receive a catch-up shot.

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Q:Hepatitis C is usually spread through blood. True or false?

A:True. The most common way hepatitis C is spread is by blood.

This can happen when drug users share needles, or from accidental hospital needle-sticks. Other ways hepatitis C can be spread include sexual contact or from mother to baby during childbirth. Using condoms during sex can help prevent the spread of hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted diseases.

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Q:How can you keep your liver healthy?

A:There are a number of ways to help maintain liver health.

  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Limit consumption of dietary fats
  • Do not take medications and drink alcohol at the same time
  • Do not use illegal drugs
  • Practice safe sex and use condoms
  • Make sure all tattoos and piercings are performed in a sanitary manner
  • Get vaccinated for hepatitis A or B when needed for travel
  • Protect against airborne chemicals
  • Avoid exposure to blood

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