It is difficult not to be impressed with the human liver. With an average weight of about 3.5 pounds, the liver is easily the largest internal organ found in the body. It forms a vital part of the human digestive system, performing more than a hundred different roles. Some of the most important of these functions includes it involvement in the digestion of fats, its role in synthesizing of protein and it use as a storage reserve of nutrients (Vitamins). The liver also filters wastes from the blood, is responsible for the removal of poisonous toxins and also regulates the chemical content of the bloodstream.
One of the unique qualities about the liver is that it can grow back in the event that parts of it becomes injured or damaged. When a liver is damaged, it structural layout allows the possibility for another section to take up the functions of the injured area pending its repair. Its ability to regenerate also means that most liver transplants tend to be successful. Current statistics put liver transplant success rates as high as 80%. However, despite its many advantages and undeniable resilience, livers do get infected from time to time. A swollen liver is usually one of the outcomes.
Causes of Swollen Liver
There are many possible reasons behind a swollen liver. A swollen liver might develop as a result of an accumulation of fat within it. This is typically found amongst people suffering from either diabetes or obesity. It is important to note however that these conditions however do not always result in a swollen liver. Increased fat deposits are also common amongst people with heavy alcohol consumption. A swollen liver can also be caused by a number of viral infections the most common of which are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. People who suffer from severe cases of diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes or congestive heart failure also risk causing a swollen liver. Finally, metabolic disorders caused by an improper diet or the side effect of some medication are also linked to an enlarged liver.
Swollen Liver Symptoms
Most people fail to detect a swollen liver because the symptoms are not immediately obvious. Because the liver does not have any nerves pain is rarely felt in the beginning. Pain however does begin when other organs become affected by its increased growth. The larger a liver becomes, the more pressure it will put on the organs surrounding it. These organs, unlike the liver possess nerves and at this point some pain will be felt when breathing. Another swollen liver symptom is stool which appears to be lightly colored in shades of light grey. This is typically caused by a failure in bile production.
People who suffer from a swollen liver sometimes experience digestive disorders. A few of these includes nausea, vomiting and poor appetite. Diarrhea and weight loss or gain can also occur. Liver diseases symptoms such as dark urine and the yellowing of the whites of the eye as well as the skin (Jaundice) can also be experienced.
In cases of a swollen liver which has been caused by excess consumption of alcohol, people experience symptoms such as a dry mouth, severe thirst, and light headedness. Darkly colored vomit or vomit mixed with blood and mood fluctuation .Mental confusion and overwhelming fatigue—caused by the increased flow of toxins to the brain—are also possible symptoms.
In most cases of liver infection, early detection always bodes well for liver treatment. It is therefore important that people report the signs of their symptoms immediately they begin to occur.
Copyright © 2006 Liver Facts.