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Understanding the Liver
The liver is the largest internal organ in the body and plays a vital role in many bodily processes.
It is located in your upper right part of your abdomen under your rib cage. It performs the following functions:
- Storing energy in the form of sugar
- Storing vitamins, iron, and other minerals
- Making proteins, including blood clotting factors
- Processes worn-out blood cells
- Makes bile that helps digest food
- Cleans the blood by breaking down medicines and toxins such as alcohol
- Regenerates its own damaged tissue
- Maintains hormone balance
- Helps in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E, K
- Helps the body resist infection by producing immune factors and removing bacteria from the blood.
There are many diseases that can cause a liver to fail. Typically end-stage liver disease that requires a liver transplant is from cirrhosis (scarring of the liver). The cause of cirrhosis varies and can be from alcohol abuse, hepatitis B or C, an autoimmune disease, a metabolic disease, or from some unknown reason.
Some liver diseases are cured with a transplant others are just treatments for the cirrhosis and the original disease can return to the new liver. Patients who are considered transplant candidates typically have an 80-90 percent chance of survival.