Liver Health 101

The liver is the organ located in the upper right side of the abdomen, just below the diaphragm. It is the largest internal organ of the human body. The main roles of liver include removing toxins from the body, processing food nutrients, and helping to regulate body metabolism.


However, there are certain conditions that prevent liver from performing its vital functions including, accumulation of fat in the liver, misuse of alcohol, viral infection, iron or copper accumulation, toxic damage, and cancer.


Signs and symptoms of liver diseases

Certain types of liver disease such as non- alcohol fatty liver disease have no symptoms at all. For other liver conditions, the most common symptom is jaundice. Jaundice develops when the liver cannot clear a substance called bilirubin in the body hence making skin and the white eyes area appear yellowish.


Other symptoms include abdominal (belly) pain, bruising easily, changes in the color of the urine and stool, fatigue, nausea, or vomiting, swelling in the arms or legs (edema).


Once notice any of these symptoms it is best to seek immediate medical attention.


Causes of liver diseases

There are many causes of liver disease such as hepatitis virus infections, alcohol related liver disease, toxic effect from medication or/ and herbal medications, autoimmune disease, and congenital abnormalities such as accumulation of iron and copper in the body, or some rare enzyme disorders.


Diagnosis of liver diseases

Liver disease is diagnosed using several tests, including physical examination, medical history such as diet, consumption of alcohol, exposure to hepatitis infection, previous blood transfusions, tattoos, and family history of liver disease.


Other than these, blood test will also be conducted to test the levels of liver enzymes, jaundice, and the protein production capability of the liver.


Ultrasound scan of the abdomen (belly) will be conducted to check liver for abnormal lumps and assess fluid accumulation. Other scan including CT scan, MRI, and biopsy, a small piece of liver tissue is removed and examined under microscope in a laboratory to confirm the diagnosis will all be conducted in giving the precise diagnosis.


Treatment of liver diseases

Treatment depends on the cause of liver diseases, but among usual would be to avoid alcohol and any drugs that might damage the liver, consumption of well balance diet, consumption of prescribed medication to manage the disease and periodic removal of blood to bring iron levels down to normal in patient with haemochromatosis.

As for liver cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, or liver transplantation are the usual treatment given. In the case where liver is failing, liver transplantation are the usual treatments for liver cancer.




  1. Victoria. Better Health Channel. Liver. (Retrieved on November 9, 2022).
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Liver Disease. (Retrieved on Novemeber 9, 2022).
  3. Mayo Clinic. Liver Disease. (Retrieved on November 9, 2022).