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Liver is crucial to good health | Public

The human liver is a part of the body that most people don’t know much about or think about, yet it is crucial to good health as well as life. The liver is a very large gland and one of the most complex organs of the body. The skin is the only other organ that is heavier and larger than the liver. The liver is the only organ in the body that can regenerate itself, and can do so completely as long as a minimum of 25 percent of the tissue remains.

The liver is classified as part of the digestive system, but its functions are many and varied. These functions include detoxification, protein synthesis, storage of certain vitamins and minerals, and the production of bile and other chemicals that help digest food. It is located above the stomach and below the lungs, weighs 2 to 3 pounds in adulthood, is roughly the size of a football, and carries out more than 500 essential tasks.

Unlike other organs in the body, the liver is served by two distinct blood supplies. The hepatic artery conveys oxygenated blood containing essential materials to the liver, while the portal vein brings nutrient-filled blood from the stomach and intestines for processing.

The liver acts like a sorting center, taking the blood from the digestive system and determining which nutrients should be processed, what should be stored, what should be eliminated via the stool, and what should go back into the blood. An estimated 13 percent of the body’s blood can be found circulating in the liver at any given time.

There are many types of diseases that can affect the liver and its functions. One such disease is cirrhosis of the liver where scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. This disease can be caused by long-term excessive use of alchohol, obesity, chronic hepatitis, or several rare genetic diseases. Chirrhosis can have serious complications that negatively impact quality of life and longevity. People with this condition also have a much higher risk of developing liver cancer.

At the present time, deaths from cirrhosis and liver cancer are skyrocketing in the United States, especially among younger people. Many, if not most, of these deaths are completely preventable with life style changes.

Article source: http://www.enterprisepub.com/public/liver-is-crucial-to-good-health/article_5801c8c4-1352-11e9-9e64-4f8fcd2a45b2.html

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