Weighing between 1.2 and 1.5 kg, the liver is an organ of great importance in the body. It plays a key role in the metabolism of nutrients, control of infection, removal of toxins, and synthesis of various proteins involved in metabolism. The liver is particularly essential for the regulation of the “feed-fast cycle” – the body’s response to starvation and meals.
Liver diseases include acute liver injuries (caused by, for example, viral hepatitis, drugs, and alcohol), and chronic liver diseases (such as hepatitis B and C, Wilson’s disease, and α1-antitrypsin deficiency). The buildup of fats in the liver commonly causes non-alcoholic fatty liver, affecting up to one-third of all adults in the U.S. A characteristic symptom of liver disease is jaundice or yellow discoloration of the skin, sclera, and mucous membranes of the body. Other symptoms include dark-colored urine, pale stools, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, and abdominal pain. The treatment of liver disease depends upon the causative factor. A change in lifestyle and weight loss is recommended for most adults with a fatty liver.