The liver is the large organ in the lower abdomen, which performs a number of tasks in relation to digestion and waste removal. Inflammation of the liver is called Hepatitis, including the various infectious types of Viral Hepatitis. Liver symptoms include liver enlargement (hepatomegaly), liver pain, liver inflammation, etc. Liver disorders include Hepatitis, Liver Cirrhosis, Liver Cancer, Hemochromatosis, Jaundice (e.g. yellow skin, yellow eyes), and the worst case of Liver Failure. Read more about: Liver symptoms, Liver Disorders.
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Liver. The liver is a large solid organ in the right upper corner of the abdomen, and is protected by the rib cage. The liver functions to detoxify chemicals, metabolize drugs, filter blood, and make proteins that are important for blood clotting and other functions. It also produces bile, which is important for digestion, and stores carbohydrates to be used as "fuel" for the body between meals.
Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH)1
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The liver is the organ in the abdomen—the area between the chest and hips—that makes blood proteins and bile, stores energy and nutrients, fights infection, and removes harmful chemicals from the blood.
Source: NIDDK (NIH)2
The liver produces bile—a fluid that carries toxins and waste products out of the body and helps the body digest fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Bile mostly consists of cholesterol, bile salts, and bilirubin. Bilirubin, a reddish-yellow substance, forms when hemoglobin from red blood cells breaks down. Most bilirubin is excreted through bile.
Source: NIDDK (NIH)3
What does the liver do?
The body’s largest internal organ, the liver has many important functions including
- preventing infections
- removing bacteria and toxins from the blood
- controlling immune responses
- processing nutrients, medications, and hormones
- making proteins that help the blood clot
- producing bile, which helps the body absorb fats—including cholesterol—and fat-soluble vitamins
- storing vitamins, minerals, fats, and sugars for use by the body
A healthy liver is necessary for survival. A healthy liver can regenerate most of its own cells when they become damaged.
Source: NIDDK (NIH)4
“The liver performs an amazing set of functions that keep you healthy,” says Dr. Jake Liang, a liver specialist and researcher at NIH.
Your liver helps fight infections. It cleans your blood by getting rid of your body’s natural waste products and other harmful substances, including alcohol and drugs. “The liver also transforms the foods you eat into energy and nutrients your body can use, and it regulates how nutrients flow to different parts of the body when needed,” Liang says.
Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)5
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Liver adverse event: Liver/biliary system adverse event that results in the disease of the liver7
Anatomical Information about Liver
The liver is the body’s largest internal organ. The liver is called the body’s metabolic factory because of the important role it plays in metabolism—the way cells change food into energy after food is digested and absorbed into the blood. The liver has many functions, including
- taking up, storing, and processing nutrients from food—including fat, sugar, and protein—and delivering them to the rest of the body when needed
- making new proteins, such as clotting factors and immune factors
- producing bile, which helps the body absorb fats, cholesterol, and fat-soluble vitamins
- removing waste products the kidneys cannot remove, such as fats, cholesterol, toxins, and medications
A healthy liver is necessary for survival. The liver can regenerate most of its own cells when they become damaged. However, if injury to the liver is too severe or long lasting, regeneration is incomplete, and the liver creates scar tissue. Scarring of the liver, also called fibrosis, may lead to cirrhosis.
Source: NIDDK (NIH)8
Read about these related anatomy topics:
- Rib cage
Read about these related symptoms:
- Liver Symptoms: Liver symptoms, or hepatic symptoms, are symptoms of the liver, which is a large organ inside the lower abdomen. Liver symptoms include liver pain, liver inflammation (hepatitis), liver swelling (hepatomegaly)
... More on Liver Symptoms »
- Liver enlargement: Liver enlargement, or hepatomegaly, is a symptom of many different disorders. The liver enlarges with additional symptoms such as abdominal distention and/or abdominal tenderness. Closely related is spleen enlargement
... More on Liver enlargement »
- Hepatomegaly: Summary:
Abnormally increased size of the liver.9,10
... More on Hepatomegaly »
- Yellow Skin: Yellow skin is a hallmark symptom of jaundice, which usually also causes other symptoms, such as yellow eyes and generalized itching.
Yellow skin in a newborn baby is likely to
... More on Yellow Skin »
- Blood clots: Blood clots are part of the normal healing process, whereby the body repairs damage using platelets to avoid bleeding. Blood clots are common in injury or surgery, and anti-clotting
... More on Blood clots »
Disease and Condition Articles
Read about these related conditions and diseases:
- Hepatitis: Hepatitis means liver inflammation of any type, but in common usage it often refers to the infectious viral forms of hepatitis, such as Hepatitis A, B, or C. Symptoms of
... More on Hepatitis »
- Viral hepatitis: Viral hepatitis is liver infection (hepatitis) that is caused by a contagious virus. The most common types of hepatitis are caused by viruses: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D
... More on Viral hepatitis »
- Liver Disorders: The liver is a large organ that can have various disorders. Infection or inflammation of the liver is called hepatitis, and various forms of viral hepatitis are common: Hepatitis A
... More on Liver Disorders »
- Cirrhosis of the Liver: Cirrhosis of the liver, or hepatic cirrhosis, is a severe chronic disease of the liver. It is best known as a long-term complication of alcoholism, but there are actually
... More on Cirrhosis of the Liver »
- Liver Cancer: Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the liver, it is called liver cancer. Each year in the United11
... More on Liver Cancer »
Related Symptom Topics
Read more about these related symptoms:More »
Related Disease and Condition Topics
Read about these diseases and medical conditions related to Liver:More »
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- Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): rarediseasesnetwork.org/ cms/ cegir/ Learn-More/ Glossary
- Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ liver-disease/ alagille-syndrome
- Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ health-topics/ digestive-diseases/ gallstones/ Pages/ facts.aspx
- Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ health-topics/ liver-disease/ liver-transplant/ Pages/ facts.aspx
- Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ issue/ mar2014/ feature1
- Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
- Source: OAE Ontology
- Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ liver-disease/ cirrhosis
- [from HPO]
- Source: GTR (NCBI/NIH): ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ gtr/ conditions/ CN002031/
- Source: CDC Cancer: cdc.gov/ cancer/ liver/ index.htm
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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.