Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
The liver is the largest solid organ in the body. People may not know that the liver is also the largest gland in the body. The liver is actually two different types of gland. It is a
secretory gland because it has a specialized structure that is designed to allow it to make and secrete bile into the bile ducts. It also is an
endocrine gland since it makes and secretes chemicals directly into the
blood that have effects on other organs in the body. Bile is a fluid that both
aids in digestion and absorption of fats as well as carries waste products into
There are all sorts of glands in the body that make and secrete substances, including the pancreas (digestive enzymes), thyroid and other endocrine glands (hormones), gastric glands in the stomach (acid), and
lymph glands or nodes (lymph).
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on 10/7/2011
Viewer question: My doctor told me that I have fatty liver and high
cholesterol. He also said that my liver is slightly inflamed because my
liver tests are mildly abnormal. He wants me to lose weight, exercise
and take Lipitor to lower my cholesterol. I also read that Lipitor can
have liver side effects. Is it safe to take Lipitor in somebody like me?
Doctor's response: Low dose statins like atorvastatin (Lipitor) are safe in patients with mild liver disease
(for example, patients with fatty liver and mildly abnormal liver
tests in the blood such as ALT and AST).