Your liver is one of the largest organs in the body. It locates in the upper right abdomen and is responsible for high number of functions. First of all, liver produces bile, in order to help you to digest fatty foods. It also contains the stocks of glycogen (converted glucose), which can be used, when body needs energy.
Liver plays a key role in creation of blood clotting factors and amino acids (chemicals, used to build up the proteins). Moreover, your liver takes part in production and accumulation of iron and cholesterol.
This large organ was also found to support body’s cleansing. It helps you to get rid of waste products and metabolize medications. Sometimes liver cells can be damaged by toxins, viruses, alcohol or medicines.
Liver can lose its ability to function abruptly, leading to acute hepatic failure. This problem is mainly associated with drug (acetaminophen) overdose or poisoned mushrooms intake.
In the majority of cases, liver experiences long-term injury, caused by infection (hepatitis B, C), alcohol abuse, iron overload, regular long-term consumption of certain medications like acetaminophen, statins, tetracycline, isoniazid etc.
Occasionally liver failure occurs as a result of autoimmune disorder. In this case your immune cells begin to attack your own hepatocytes (liver cells) mistakenly.
Actually your liver has ability to compensate its own dysfunction and even renew its cells. That's why people often live with liver disease and don't know about it, since more than 75% of hepatocytes get damaged.
However there are some warning signs, which can indicate liver failure. Let's see how to recognize that your liver doesn't work properly:
#1. Jaundice – when red blood cells end their life cycle and get broken down, your body creates bilirubin from them and remove it from your body with bile. If your liver loses ability to function as needed, bilirubin tends to be accumulated in the bloodstream and skin cells. Buildup of this chemical usually makes your skin yellowish.
#2. Easy bruising and bleeding - you remember that your liver produces blood clotting chemicals, aren't you? If it fails, your body may suffer from deficiency of these elements. You may notice tendency to bruise and bleed even after insignificant injury.
#3. Itchy skin – sometimes hepatic failure is accompanied by obstruction of the bile ducts. As a result, bile can't be released to your digestive tract and begin to build up in the liver ducts. You can feel it in irresistable want to scratch your skin.
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#4. Pain and heaviness in the abdomen – liver tissue doesn't have nerve endings. But if your liver is enlarged because of inflammation, it can press on the nerves, located in the capsule (sheath, which surrounds this organ). Large liver usually causes sense of heaviness, swelling and tightness in your bowel.
#5. Dark urine and pale stool – it was found that disturbed elimination of bilirubin commonly causes discoloration of your urine and excretions.
#6. Changes in mental health – as toxins can't be removed by the liver, they are stored in the blood. Sometimes these harmful substances can affect your brain functioning. This problem can manifest in loss of concentration, sleep disturbance, changes in the mood and deterioration in mental functioning.
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