Where Is Your Liver and What Does It Do?

The natural remedies on this website are never intended as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

The liver is a very important organ that is part of the digestive system.  It weighs about 3 1/2 pounds and is located on the right side of your body under your lower rib cage.  It has two lobes and is normally reddish-brown in color.  It helps remove toxins and waste products from the blood.  The liver actually filters everything you put in your body and even the chemicals your body produces goes through the liver.  That’s why any damage to it can cause serious problems in other parts of your body.  That’s why it is so serious to get Hepatitis C because it attacks the liver.

Your liver:

  • Acts as a filter to cleanse blood and discharge wast products into bile
  • Regulates protein, bile and blood-clotting agents
  • Stores vitamins, iron, sugars, and minerals used by your body
  • Regulates cholesterol, naturally produced chemicals and drugs in the blood
  • Keeps hormones at correct levels

To keep your liver healthy, you must eat well and avoid alcohol.  That is, if your liver is healthy.  If you have hepatitis C, your liver is not as healthy as it should be. If you’ve had HepC for a long time your liver has definitely been damaged.   It’s possible that you may not feel ill at all and can still have hepatitis C.  The only way to tell if you have hepatitis C is to have a blood test to check your “liver enzyme” levels.  I just recently found out that a liver can become cirrhotic if you have “fatty liver disease”.  More reasons to work on keeping your liver healthy, or at least functioning efficiently.

Liver damage causes many problems, such as loss of pathways (veins) for the blood to pass through the liver and cell death.  When you lose these pathways the blood starts coming out through other means in your body, like from your throat (esophagus).  That was one of the first things my Gastroenterologist looked for when my biopsy showed grade 4 Liver Cirrhosis.  But when he looked in my esophagus it was not bleeding out and he was again surprised.

His first surprise was when he found out that I had grade 4 Liver Cirrhosis but was not jaundiced, not swollen, not dying in the hospital despite the fact that usually people reach that state at grade 2 Liver Cirrhosis.  Liver damage makes it harder for the liver to store nutrients and to take toxins from the body.  The longer you have hepatitis C the greater the chance of liver damage leading up to cirrhosis of the liver.  Cirrhosis is a serious condition where normal blood cells are replaced with scar tissue which prevents the liver working successfully (according to medical knowledge).  I just don’t think I believe that having scar tissue always prevents the liver from working.

There are three factors you watch in your liver panel blood test when you have HepC.  They are the SGOT (AST), SGPT (ALT), and the Alkaline Phos. readings.  I’m not sure if all of them are enzymes or if just the SGOT and SGPT are the enzymes.  These readings tell doctors whether your liver is functioning and/or if it is having a problem functioning.  The medical profession doesn’t know where the liver enzymes come from or how they are made, but they do at least know how to measure the enzymes to tell if there is a problem.

To your greatest success!

Shari

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