Anatomy and Function of the Liver

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    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.

Take the Liver Disease Quiz

Liver disease causes (fatty liver, cirrhosis, hepatitis, and infections)

Many diseases may affect the liver directly or as a consequence of an illness or disease that begins in another organ.

Fatty liver disease

Cirrhosis

  • Cirrhosis of the liver describes a condition of scarring in the liver that is not reversible and may lead to liver failure.
  • Alcohol abuse causes cirrhosis of the liver and is the most common cause of liver disease in North America.

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is an infection of the liver that causes liver inflammation.

  • Hepatitis A is often spread by poor sanitary habits including poor handwashing and may be transmitted by food handlers. It tends to be self-limited.
  • Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are spread by contact with infected body fluids.
  • Hepatitis D is spread in conjunction with hepatitis B and needs the B virus for it to survive in the body and cause liver damage.
  • Hepatitis E is a food or water borne infection.
  • There are vaccinations available to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

Infections

Infections may affect the liver, including:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/5/2016

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