Prevention of Liver Disease

Updated: Jun 8


Prevention of Liver Disease

The liver is the largest organ in the body. It weighs nearly 1.5 kg. It is located in the right upper part of the abdomen, under the right ribs and extending to the central and left upper abdomen. The liver is the metabolic factory of the body and all major metabolic processes needed for life take place in the liver.
Liver function

The liver is the largest organ in the body. It weighs nearly 1.5 kg. It is located in the right upper part of the abdomen, under the right ribs and extending to the central and left upper abdomen. The liver is the metabolic factory of the body and all major metabolic processes needed for life take place in the liver.

Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat metabolism takes place here so does the detoxification of unwanted substances as well as the synthesis of a substances needed to sustain life like those needed for immunity



The liver The liver has two major lobes the right and the left. The basic functional unit of the liver is known as the lobule.has two major lobes the right and the left. The basic functional unit of the liver is known as the lobule.
Liver Structure

The liver has two major lobes the right and the left. The basic functional unit of the liver is known as the lobule.

Many channels (bile ducts and blood vessels)are present between the liver cells. Blood coming from the intestine flows through the portal via these channels into the liver.

This incoming blood is rich in nutrients, medication as well as toxic substances. Once these substances reach the liver, these substances are processed and depending upon the need either stored, altered or detoxified, and passed back into the blood or released in the bile channels and subsequently into the bowel to be eliminated.



The purified blood then enters the general circulation through the hepatic vein.


Whenever there is excess of sugar in the body, it is converted to glycogen which can then be stored, a process which is called glycogenesis.
Glucose metabolism

Whenever there is excess of sugar in the body, it is converted to glycogen which can then be stored, a process which is called glycogenesis.

Similarly if the need arises, this glycogen can be reconverted into glucose for energy by a process called as glycogenolysis.

Once the glucose stores are exhausted and there is need, the liver can also synthesize glucose from proteins by a process called as gluconeogenesis.




Similarly when there is excess sugar or carbohydrate available and the glycogen storage capacity of the liver is exceeded, the liver converts this carbohydrate into fat for storage outside the liver in adipose tissue which is then reclaimed by the liver at the time of need.


Similarly when there is excess sugar or carbohydrate available and the glycogen storage capacity of the liver is exceeded, the liver converts this carbohydrate into fat for storage outside the liver in adipose tissue which is then reclaimed by the liver at the time of need.
Regulation of glucose metabolism

The major protein metabolic pathways are also located in the liver. Transamination and deamination of proteins as well as their conversion into glucose takes place here, the synthesis of amino acids and albumin all take place in the liver.

In addition to its synthetic functions, the liver is also responsible for the removal of waste from the body by converting it into a form which can then be excreted in bile.




There is a high prevalence of liver disease in our country:

Nearly 25% of the population suffers from fatty liver,

There is a highprevalence of liver disease in ourcountry: Nearly 25% of the population    suffers from fatty liver, there are an estimated 40 million carriers of hepatitis B and 10 million carriers of hepatitis C and with prosperity and changing lifestyle both alcoholic liver disease as well as immune mediated liver also disease are rising. Despite this, liver diseaseis a
Progression of liver diseases

There are an estimated 40 million carriers of hepatitis B and 10 million carriers of hepatitis C and with prosperity and changing lifestyle both alcoholic liver disease as well as immune mediated liver also disease are rising. Despite this, liver disease is a neglected entity as the public awareness about the liver, its functions, liver disease and its prevention is probably the lowest among the major organs like the brain, heart, liver and kidney. This is manifest by the existence of very few preventive public health programmers focusing on liver disease.


The major causes of liver disease include:

  • Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver disease (NAFLD or Fatty Liver)

  • Alcoholic liver diseae (ALD)

  • Viral hepatitis

  • Drug induced liver disease (DILI)

Other relatively rarer causes are:

  • Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH)

  • Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)

  • Primary Sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)

  • Diseases of copper (Wilsons disease)

  • Iron (Hemochromatosis) metabolism

  • Liver infections like amebiasis, malaria, Hydatid disease, salmonella etc.

Increasing prosperity has brought about major lifestyle and social changes in our country in the last two decades. It has been estimated in a number of population based studies both from India and abroad that the prevalence of fatty liver varies between 16- 25% of the general population. Of these nearly 8-10% are going to develop inflammation within the liver (NASH:Non Alcoholic Steato Hepatitis) and 1% are going to develop frank cirrhosis.


Alcohol consumption is rising and the major states facing increasing alcohol related diseases are Kerala and Punjab. Alcohol effects nearly all organs of the body and its manifestations can be seen in the nervous system, cardiovascular system, urogenital system and GI tract.


There are 5 major hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D and E.

A and E are water borne and are spread through contact with contaminated food and water.

A and E are water borne and are spread through contact with contaminated food and water.
Water Born Hepatitis

Whereas B,C and D are blood borne and are spread by needle prick injuries, blood transfusions, dental treatments, dialysis etc.