Everything About Liver: Function, Disease, Symptoms, Causes

The liver is one of the body's most important organs, performing hundreds of chemical reactions that allow the body to function. Because it secretes substances that are utilized by other regions of the body, it is also a gland. Because of these characteristics, the liver can be said as an organ and a gland. Moreover, the liver is the body's largest internal organ.

The liver is divided into two lobes and receives its blood supply from two places:

The portal vein carries blood from the stomach, intestine, and colon to the spleen, while the hepatic artery carries blood from the heart.

Function of liver

The liver serves a variety of purposes. It produces many of the chemicals the body requires to function normally and breaks down and detoxifies toxins in the body and acting as a storage unit.

The liver is in charge of regulating the majority of chemical levels in the bloodstream as well as excreting bile. This aids in the elimination of waste from the liver. All of the blood that leaves the stomach and intestines is filtered by the liver. The liver processes blood, breaking down, balancing, and creating nutrients, as well as metabolizing medications into easier-to-use forms for the rest of the body or that are nontoxic.

Everything About Liver: Function, Disease, Symptoms, Causes

The liver carries out more than 500 important activities. Below are some of the more important functions:

  • Bile is produced in the small intestine to aid in the elimination of waste and the breakdown of fats during digestion.
  • Certain proteins are produced for blood plasma.
  • Production of cholesterol and special proteins helps in caring fats through the body.
  • Excess glucose is converted to glycogen for storage (glycogen can afterward be converted back to glucose for energy), and glucose is balanced and made as needed.
  • Amino acid levels in the blood, which are the building blocks of proteins, are regulated.
  • It helps in processing hemoglobin for the use of iron content.
  • It helps in converting toxic ammonia to urea.
  • Clears out the blood of all drugs and foreign substances.
  • Regulates blood clotting.
  • Making immune factors and eliminating bacteria from the bloodstream to fight illnesses
  • Bilirubin clearance, including from red blood cells. The skin and eyes turn yellow when there is a buildup of bilirubin.

By-products of the liver's breakdown of toxic chemicals are expelled in the bile or blood. Bile by-products pass through the intestine and exit the body as feces. The kidneys filter out blood by-products, which then leave the body in the form of urine.

The different diseases of the liver

Let’s look at a few main liver diseases.


Hepatitis is a liver ailment caused by a viral infection. It causes inflammation and damage to your liver, making it harder for it to operate properly. Hepatitis is contagious in all forms, but you can lower your risk by getting vaccinated against types A and B or taking other preventive measures, such as practicing safe sex and not sharing needles.

There are 5 types of Hepatitis

  1. Hepatitis A is usually transmitted through contaminated food or water. Symptoms may go away without therapy, although it may take a few weeks to recover.
  2. Hepatitis B is either acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). It is transmitted through body fluids like blood and semen. Hepatitis B is treated, but there is no cure. Early treatment is critical for avoiding issues, so if you're at risk, it's important to have regular checkups.
  3. Hepatitis C can be both acute or chronic. Contact with blood from someone who has hepatitis C is a common way for it to spread. While it may not create symptoms in the early stages, it might eventually lead to chronic liver damage.
  4. Hepatitis D is dangerous hepatitis that can only be obtained by persons who already have hepatitis B. It cannot be contracted on its own. It can also be acute or chronic in nature.
  5. Drinking polluted water is the most common cause of hepatitis E. It usually clears up on its own after a few weeks with no long-term consequences.

Fatty liver disease

Fatty liver disease is caused by fat accumulation in the liver.

Fatty liver disease is categorized into two types:

Alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by excessive alcohol consumption, whereas nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by other factors. Experts are still attempting to understand.

Both types of fatty liver disease can damage the liver, leading to cirrhosis and liver failure if left untreated. Diet and other lifestyle modifications can help to alleviate symptoms and lower the chance of problems.

Autoimmune conditions.

Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body.

Several autoimmune diseases cause your immune system to damage your cells and liver, such as:

  1. Autoimmune Hepatitis. This illness produces inflammation in your liver when your immune system attacks it. It can progress to cirrhosis and liver failure if left untreated.
  2. Primary Biliary cirrhosis. Damage to the bile ducts in your liver causes an accumulation of bile, resulting in this condition. Cirrhosis and liver failure can develop as a result of PBC.

Genetic conditions.

Your liver can also be affected by a number of hereditary disorders that you inherit from one of your parents:

  1. Hemochromatosis is a condition in which your body stores more iron than it requires. Your organs, including your liver, retain this iron. If not addressed properly, this might cause long-term damage.
  2. Wilson's disease causes the liver to absorb copper rather than releasing it through the bile ducts. Your liver may eventually become too damaged to hold any more copper, allowing it to travel through your bloodstream and harm other organs, including your brain.


Liver Cancer begins in the liver. Secondary liver cancer occurs when cancer begins elsewhere in the body and spreads to the liver.

Hepatocellular carcinoma is a type of liver cancer. It usually manifests as a series of tiny tumors in your liver, although it can also begin as a single tumor.

Other liver illnesses, particularly those that go untreated, may contribute to the development of liver cancer.


Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver caused by illnesses and other sources of liver injury, such as alcoholism. Cystic fibrosis and syphilis can both cause liver damage and, in the worst-case scenario, cirrhosis.

Cirrhosis is generally curable in its early stages by addressing the underlying cause. However, if left untreated, it can lead to more difficulties and even death.

Liver failure.

Chronic liver failure occurs when a large portion of your liver is damaged and unable to function normally. Liver failure caused by liver disease and cirrhosis usually occurs gradually. It's possible that you won't experience any symptoms at first. However, over time, you may begin to notice: Jaundice, Diarrhea, fatigue or weakness, and nausea.

It's a serious condition that needs to be managed on a regular basis.

Acute liver failure, on the other hand, occurs unexpectedly, frequently as a result of an overdose or poisoning.

Symptoms of liver disease

The symptoms of liver disease differ based on the underlying cause. However, there are several general signs and symptoms that could indicate liver disease.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Yellow skin and eyes just as Jaundice
  • Discolored urine
  • Pale, bloody, or black stool
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy skin
  • Swollen legs, or ankles
  • Abdominal pain
  • Easy bruising
  • Decreased appetite


Liver diseases have many causes such as:

  • Liver infection by parasites or viruses can result in inflammation and reduced liver function. Viruses that cause liver disease can be passed from person to person through blood, contaminated food or water, or close contact with an infected person.
  • Immune system abnormality.
  • An abnormal gene can get passed down from one or both parents.
  • Cancer and other growths.

Additional causes that may increase the risk of liver diseases are

  • Chronic alcohol abuse
  • Certain over-the-counter medications.
  • Fat accumulation in the liver
  • Certain herbal compounds.