Dedicated to those whose lives have been affected by or lost to liver disease. Please show your support.
May my mother, aunt, and uncle all rest in peace, whose lives were all cut tragically short by liver diseases.
The liver is a vital organ, yet it receives little press. Think of your association and knowledge of the liver. The truth is that few of us know much about it beyond that it filters alcohol. That's terrible, as the liver is necessary to survival, and it is remarkably the only internal organ that can regenerate itself.Facts about the liver:
After the skin, the liver is the largest organ. It is also the largest gland. It is located below the right rib cage in the upper right-side of the abdomen, above the pancreas and small intestine.
The liver is involved in nearly every physiological process in the body, and it performs over 500 chemical functions.
A healthy individual can lose up to 75% of his or her liver, and the remaining portions will regenerate into a whole new liver again. (This is impossible in people with severe liver disease, explained later.)
Everything we drink, eat, breathe, and absorb through the skin is purified and refined by the liver.
The liver has three main functions: it helps in digestion, generates proteins, and cleanses the body of toxins.
All of the blood that has passed through the small intestines must flow through the portal vein of the liver, thus nearly all the nutrients one consumes must travel through the gauntlet of the liver before reaching the heart for generalized distribution. (Basically, the liver determines what is prohibited and permitted to be distributed throughout the body by acting as a “border control station”.)
Within this organ, there is a connection of bile ducts, which help break down fats. The liver also utilizes this bile to clear bilirubin (a substance from the separation of hemoglobin in dead red blood cells) from the blood.Facts about liver disease:
4 to 5 million Americans are chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), which can destroy livers without obvious symptoms.
1.0 million people have HIV. 250,000 of these individuals also have HBV, and 50,000 have HCV. Liver disease is now the most common cause of death in Americans with HIV infections.
Primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) is one of the deadliest types of cancer, and also has the fastest rising cancer incidence in the United States. Tragically, less than 10% of such patients survive.
27,500 Americans died of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in 2005 (the most recent year for which there are statistics).
15,750 Americans are on the waiting list for a liver transplant as of March 2009. However, liver transplantation costs between $200,000 to $300,000, with the annual cost of drugs and follow-up medical appoints afterward from $12,000 to $20,000.
For more information, contact...
The American Liver Foundation: www.liverfoundation.org
Hepatitis Foundation International: www.hepfi.org
United Network for Organ Sharing: www.unos.org
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov
Wilson Disease Association: [link]Note:
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