- The liver is the largest gland that detoxifies metabolites, synthesized protein, and produces biochemical required for digestion and growth.
- Location of the liver – it is present in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen, below the diaphragm.
- It regulates glycogen storage, red blood cell decomposition, and hormone production.
- The liver produces bile, an alkaline fluid containing cholesterol and bile acids, which helps to break down the fat.
- The gallbladder is a small pouch that presents under the liver, it stores bile that produced by the liver which moves towards the small intestine and the complete digestion process.
- The liver’s highly specialized tissue, consisting of mostly 70 – 80% of hepatocytes (the chief functional cells of the liver) plays a vital role in metabolism, detoxification, and protein synthesis.
- It activates innate immunity.
CAUSES OF LIVER DISEASES
- Many diseases and conditions can affect the liver such as;
- Drugs like acetaminophen, and acetaminophen combination medications like Vicodin,
- Alcohol abuse,
- Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E,
- Infectious mononucleosis (Epstein Barr virus),
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH),
- Iron overload (hemochromatosis).
- Fatty acids
- Steroids hormones
- Ammonia – urea
- Environmental toxins/allergens
- Conversion of T4 into T3
- Detoxification of fats
- IMMUNE SYSTEMS
- Contains viruses and pathogens
- Maintenance of the hepatic and portal vein immune system
- PRODUCTION OF CHOLESTEROL
- The precursor to sex hormones, vitamin D
- PROTEIN SYNTHESIS
- Blood clotting (prothrombin)
- Cholesterol transport (lipoproteins)
- Immune function (globulins)
- Oncotic pressure (albumin)
- Copper bioavailability (ceruloplasama)
- STORAGE OF MICRONUTRIENTS
- Minerals – copper, zinc, magnesium, iron.
- Vitamins – vitamin A, D, E, K, B12
- BLOOD SUGAR BALANCE
- Storage of glycogen
- PRODUCTION OF BILE
- Needed for digestion
- GI anti-microbial
DISEASE ASSOCIATED WITH LIVER
Sometimes, an infection inflames your liver. Viral hepatitis is the most common causes including:
- Hepatitis A – Highly contagious liver infection caused by hepatitis A. Most people get it by eating or drinking something that is contaminated by fecal matter. You might not have any symptoms. It usually disappears within 6 months without any long-term harm to the body.
- Hepatitis B – it is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is easily preventable by vaccine. People get it through unprotected sex or taking drugs with shared needles. It lasts for 6 months or more than 6 months, it causes liver cancer or other diseases.
- Hepatitis C – it is caused by the hepatitis C virus, this virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis. Hepatitis C can cause liver cancer. The hepatitis C virus is a blood-borne virus the most common mode of infection is exposure to small quantities of blood, through injection drug use, unsafe injection practices, transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products, and sexual practice that lead to exposure of blood.
Immune System Problems
The immune system fights with various bacteria and viruses. But sometimes it might go wrong and attack one or more parts of the body, such as the liver.
- Autoimmune hepatitis – this condition inflames your liver and leads to other disorders and even liver failure. Mainly occur in girls and women than boys or men.
- Primary biliary cholangitis – this condition attacks tiny tubes in the liver called bile ducts. They carry bile juice, a chemical that helps to digest food. When the ducts are injured, the bile backs up inside the liver and scars it.
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis – in this condition scars occur in bile ducts, and it can eventually block the duct. The bile builds up inside the liver, and that makes it harder for your liver to work. It may cause liver cancer, and a person needs a liver transplant in this condition.
Cancer and Tumors
- Liver cancer affects women more than men and it called hepatocellular carcinoma. It is more likely to occur if people have hepatitis or drink too much alcohol.
- Bile duct cancer the tubes that run from your liver to your small intestine to carry bile, a fluid that helps you digest food. This kind of cancer mainly affects people over age 50, this type of cancer is uncommon.
- Liver cell adenoma is a tumor that not cancer. It’s uncommon, but women who take birth control pills for a long time are more prone to develop it. There is a small chance the tumor could eventually turn into cancer.
Conditions You Inherit
- Inherited liver disorders
- Hemochromatosis – in this condition body store too much of the iron from food. The extra iron store in the liver, heart, or other organs. It may lead to life-threatening diseases such as liver diseases, heart disease, or diabetes.
- Hyperoxaluria – in this condition urine has too much of a chemical called oxalate liver makes too little much oxalate due to a genetic mutation. This can cause kidney stones and kidney failure.
- Wilson’s disease – in this condition copper build-up in the liver and other organs. Its early symptoms show between the ages of 6 and 35, most often in teen’s age. It not only affects the liver, but it can cause nerve and psychiatric problems.
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency – this chemical helps the lungs to resist infections. This protein made by the liver. Improper liver function can cause the chemical to build up and cause liver disease.
Other Causes of Liver Disease
Alcohol abuse can lead to cirrhosis. So can nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and long-term cases of hepatitis B and C.
- Drug overdoses – Taking too much acetaminophen or other medications can harm the liver. Make sure you follow the dosing instructions on the label.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – this condition occurs if too much fat has built up inside the liver. The extra fat can inflame your liver. One type of NAFLD is nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). It means inflammation and cell damage in the liver.
Vaidya Karanvir Singh is the younger Vaidya in Chandigarh Ayurved & Panchakarma Centre. He is the fourth generation in his family who is practicing as a general consultant in Ayurved & Panchakarma treatment at Chandigarh. In his practice, he had treated more than 1000 plus patients worldwide.