Liver Diseases and Therapies - The Key Basics
Posted on May 2, 2014
Liver is the largest organ inside the human body. Liver is the one vital organ that helps the body in barring itself from poisons, helps in digestion of food and acts as a store of energy. Liver also plays many important functions such as protein production, blood clotting and metabolism of cholesterol, iron and glucose.
Many illnesses can affect the liver, an organ the size of a football sitting just under the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen, reducing its capabilities to perform its normal duties. The most common medical conditions affecting liver include liver cirrhosis, viral infections, and liver tumors, to name a few.
Liver diseases are commonly caused due to damage to the liver tissues because of drug abuse, excess alcohol or due to some kind of infection. Such damage result in the formation of scar tissues in place of the healthy ones, gradually impaining liver’s ability to process food and expel toxic materials from the body.
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Because liver is constantly in contact with many toxic, harmful substances, it is quite prone to tissue damage and has a proper regenerative mechanism in place. It protects itself in two major ways. First, it regenerates liver cells and replaces injured tissues. Second, the organ has many cell units responsible for carrying out similar tasks. Therefore, if one area gets damaged, other parts of the organ continue performing the functions of the injured part until it regains its health.
Causes of Liver disorders:
Hepatitis is a common liver disorder that is caused by viruses, inherited disorders or by certain medications and toxins such as alcohol and drugs. Four main types of viral hepatitis have been identified by scientists: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis D. A fifth type of hepatitis, hepatitis E is very rare.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can be caused by a virus, by inherited disorders, and sometimes by certain medications or toxins such as alcohol and drugs. Scientists have identified four main types of hepatitis caused from viruses: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and hepatitis D. A fifth type, hepatitis E, is generally not found in North America.
Hepatitis C is currently the most difficult to tackle as no perfect vaccine or medication is known against it. Though there are reports of some medications in their final stages of development, this infection still remains the most fatal amongst it’s the other four hepatitis conditions. It is known that Hepatitis C spreads only through direct blood-to-blood contact, the current improvement in screening of donated blood has greatly reduced the catching of Hepatitis C
from blood transfusions.
Hepatitis B is known to transmit through infected blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and from mother to its newborn child.
Hepatitis A is a waterborne condition and spreads from contaminated food, water and vai sewage.
Hepatitis D spreads via blood transfusions and infected needles.
The major cause of liver cirrhosis, a condition where healthy liver cells are replaced by scar tissues, is infection to the organ by hepatitis C virus. Other major reasons behind liver cirrhosis include excess alcohol consumption, hepatitis B virus infection, derogatory reactions from certain medications, obesity and the resulting fatty liver condition and infections from bacteria and parasites that are usually found in tropics.
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