The stomach is made of abdominal glandular organs. It is on top of the stomach in the right upper quadrant. Every other organ is supported by the liver, which is a vital organ.

The American Liver Foundation says that the body's second-largest organ is the liver, weighing about 3 lbs. The weight is 1.3 kilograms. About 13 percent of the body's blood supply is held by the liver, which holds about half a liter of blood.

The two main lobes of the liver are shaped like a football and a cone. The eight segments of each lobe are made up of 1,000 small lobes. The bile is transported to the gallbladder and small intestine through the ducts.


Jordan Knowlton is an advanced registered nurse practitioners at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital.

red blood cells

The liver removes toxic substances from the blood.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

More than 500 vital functions have been identified with the liver.

  • Production of bile, which helps carry away waste and break down fats in the small intestine during digestion.
  • Production of certain proteins for blood plasma. 
  • Production of cholesterol and special proteins to help carry fats through the body
  • Conversion of excess glucose into glycogen for storage (glycogen can later be converted back to glucose for energy) and to balance and make glucose as needed 
  • Regulation of blood levels of amino acids, which form the building blocks of proteins
  • Processing of hemoglobin for use of its iron content (the liver stores iron)
  • Conversion of poisonous ammonia to urea (urea is an end product of protein metabolism and is excreted in the urine)
  • Clearing the blood of drugs and other poisonous substances
  • Regulating blood clotting
  • Resisting infections by making immune factors and removing bacteria from the bloodstream
  • Clearance of bilirubin, also from red blood cells. If there is an accumulation of bilirubin, the skin and eyes turn yellow.  

The detoxification system is one of the best-known roles of the liver. According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, it removes toxic substances from blood. It breaks down hormones to keep them in balance. It destroys old blood cells.

The liver is important for metabolism. The Department of Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University says that it metabolizes Carbohydrates, Lipids andProteins into useful substances that are used in various cells throughout the body. The urea is converted into ammonia by the liver.

Liver disease

Hepatitis C

The hepatitis C virus is one cause of liver disease.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

There are more than 100 types of liver disease, and they are caused by a variety of factors, such as viruses, toxins, genetics, alcohol and unknown causes. The following are some of the most common types of disease.

  • Alagille syndrome
  • Alpha 1 anti-trypsin deficiency
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Biliary atresia
  • Cirrhosis
  • Cystic disease of the liver
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Galactosemia
  • Gallstones
  • Gilbert's syndrome
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver disease in pregnancy
  • Neonatal hepatitis
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis
  • Porphyria
  • Reye's syndrome
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Toxic hepatitis
  • Type 1 glycogen storage disease
  • Tyrosinemia
  • Viral hepatitis A, B, C
  • Wilson disease

According to the National Institutes of Health, one symptom of liver disease is yellow skin and eyes. Other symptoms include abdominal pain and swelling, persistent itchy skin, dark urine, pale stools, bloody or black stools, exhaustion, and nausea and loss of appetite.

Fatty liver

Fatty liver

This light micrograph of a fatty liver shows liver cells with large vacuoles of triglyceride fat inside.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are two types of fatty liver, one caused by excessive alcohol consumption and the other not.

It is normal for some fat on the liver to be normal, but when it starts to accumulate, it can lead to permanent damage. Genetics, weight, diet, hepatitis, or alcohol abuse are some of the factors that can lead to a bad cholesterol. Other risk factors include rapid weight loss, high cholesterol, or high trigycerides.

Even if they don't have any risk factors, some people may get a dangerous disease. According to the University of Michigan Health System, 25% of the U.S. population suffers from the disease. Eliminating alcohol, eating a healthy diet, and exercising can help prevent or reverse the early stages of the disease.

Enlarged liver

An enlarged liver is a sign of an underlying serious problem, such as cancer or heart failure.

If they are the same as the symptoms of liver disease, there is no need for an enlarged liver. If your doctor is able to feel it, it may be because it is enlarged, which is not normal. The doctor may do a number of tests to determine if you have an enlarged liver. The underlying problem will be addressed in treatment.

Liver pain

Woman in pain

Liver pain is often confused with general abdominal pain. (Image credit: Getty Images)

There is pain in the upper right part of the abdomen. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it's usually a dull, vague pain that can sometimes be quite severe and cause a backache. People think it's pain in the right shoulder. According to New Health Guide, it's often confused with abdominal pain, back pain, and kidneys pain. It's important to see a doctor if you're having pains that aren't pinpointed. Doctors can do blood tests, scans, and biopsies to determine the cause of pain.

There are a variety of causes for the pain in the lyme. There are a number of common causes of ascites.

Liver failure

It is a life-threatening condition. It means that the liver is failing, but sometimes it can be rapid. She said that the symptoms of liver failure include nausea, appetite changes, fatigue, diarrhea, jaundice, and easy bleeding.

There are a lot of different causes of liver failure. There are two types of failure of the liver, chronic and acute. The most common type of liver failure is chronic. It can be caused by disease and can take years to develop. Acute liver failure can come on suddenly. According to the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, poisoning or a drug overdose are the most common causes of acute liver failure.

Treatments for lymphatic failure depend on the case. Treatment options are mostly supportive, but ultimately may require a transplant.

Liver transplant

Liver transplant scar

It can take patients between six months and a year to feel fully healed from a liver transplant.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

Donated organs can come from dead people. The American College of Gastroenterology states that in the case of living donors, the donor donates part of his or her liver to another person. Both people should end up with healthy, functional livers. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, cirrhosis is the most common reason for adults to get a transplant.

A liver transplant can take up to 12 hours. There are several risks associated with a liver transplant.

  • Bile duct complications, including leaks or shrinking
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Failure of donated liver
  • Infection
  • Memory and thinking problems
  • Rejection of donated liver

If you have a transplant, you can stay in the hospital for up to two weeks after the surgery, and take anti-rejection and other drugs for the rest of your life, according to the National Health Service. It will take at least six months to feel healed from the surgery.

The success of a transplant depends on the individual case. 72 percent of transplant recipients live for at least five years after the surgery, meaning that transplants from cadavers have a success rate of 72 percent. The success rate for transplants from living donors was 78 percent.

Things that can harm the liver

Some diseases are caused by viruses, while others are caused by drugs and poisons. Drug or heavy alcohol consumption, having a blood transfusion before 1992, high levels of triglycerides in the blood, diabetes, and being exposed to other people's blood and bodily fluids are some of the risk factors according to the Mayo Clinic. This can happen from sharing drug needles.

Alcohol can cause damage to the bile duct. According to a small study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, it is believed that alcohol could change the type of fungi living in the liver. It could lead to new treatment options. The findings suggest that we might be able to slow the progression of alcoholic liver disease by manipulating the balance of fungal species living in a patient's intestine.

Additional resources

The British Liver Trust website has more facts about the organ. You can learn more about bile duct cancer at the National Cancer Institute website.


The bile functions of the body. Colorado State University has a Department of Biomedical Sciences.

There is a disease calledLiver Disease. There is a National Library of Medicine.

Acute Liver Failure is a condition that can occur. The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology has an abstract onAcuteLiverFailure.5.

There is aLiver transplant. The American College of Gastroenterology has a topic aboutliver-transplantation.

TheLiver is a part of transplanation. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) was founded in 2010.

Intestinal fungi contribute to the development of alcoholic liver disease. The Journal of Clinical Investigation is a journal.