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About Liver Disorders: Facts and Information

One of the largest organs in the human body, and certainly one of the most important, the liver performs over 500 functions vital to survival and good health. It stores vitamins, sugars and fats. It builds, regulates and maintains necessary body chemicals; and it removes waste products from the blood. The liver also breaks down harmful substances such as toxins. At any given moment, 13 percent of your blood supply is moving through this important organ.




The liver is a durable organ; it's the only one in the human body that is capable of regenerating itself. It can continue to function after three fourths of it has been destroyed. It's also well protected, nestled behind the lower right ribs. However, certain diseases and medical conditions can severely compromise the organ's ability to perform its essential duties. Damage to the liver from hepatitis, cirrhosis or cancer, for example, can lead to life-threatening conditions.

Liver Disorders
Numerous diseases and conditions can negatively affect the liver. Learn more about the various disorders, such as primary sclerosing cholangitis and portal hypertension, and how each is treated.

Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a disease characterized by the development of scar tissue in the liver and decreased liver function. It can be caused by other medical disorders, alcoholism, and even malnutrition. Over 25,000 Americans die of cirrhosis every year.

Hepatitis C
Caused by a particular strain of the hepatitis virus, hepatitis C can cause extensive liver damage. Prior to increased awareness of hepatitis C, 250,000 new cases of the disease were reported every year. Now, only 25,000 cases of HCV are reported yearly.

Liver Cancer
Most often liver cancer is due to metastasis, the spread, of another cancer. However, about 16,000 cases of primary liver cancer are diagnosed each year in the US. Unfortunately, 14,000 of those cases will be fatal. One reason for this high death rate is the late diagnosis of liver cancer.
 
 
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Drug Combo Fights Tough-to-Treat Hepatitis C.
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Research Predicts Outcomes From Fatty Liver Disease.
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Test May Predict Liver Cancer Prognosis.
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Last modified 18 September 2006
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