Some Facts and figure about the largest organ in the body 

Located under the ribs on the right hand side, the liver is the largest organ in the body - a woman’s weighs around 1.3 kilos and a man’s a little more. It is dark reddish-brown in colour and divided into two main areas or lobes – the right side being much larger than the left. 

The liver is a vital organ - we can’t live more than a couple of days without one. It has been described as the body’s ‘factory’ since at any moment it holds more than 10 per cent of our total blood supply (about one pint) and performs some 500 different functions including:

  • Cleaning the blood by helping to remove or process waste products and toxins including alcohol and poisons
  • Stopping cuts bleeding for a long time
  • Producing quick energy
  • Helping with the digestion of food by the production of bile (a yellowish-green fluid)
  • Fighting infections
  • Building muscle
  • Manufacturing and regulating the production of certain hormones
  • Storing iron, vitamins and other essential chemicals

As with other vital organs, such as the lungs and heart, it is important to look after the liver by:

  • Eating healthy foods from all the main food groups
  • Giving up smoking
  • Drinking less alcohol or quitting altogether
  • Exercising regularly
  • Making an appointment with a doctor if you’re concerned about your health

Failure to take proper care of the liver may lead to a liver disorder that could affect its proper functioning.

Fortunately, the liver is a very resilient organ and displays little evidence of ‘ageing’. This means that for most people it should continue to function properly into old age, although some people may be affected by genetic or inherited liver disorders.

Surely liver disease is not common?

  • Liver disease is now the fifth leading cause of death in the UK and of the top 10 is the only one that is rising.
  • The average age of death is 59 years compared to 82-84 years for heart & lung disease or strokes.
  • The UK is one of few developed nations with an upward trend in mortality.
  • Patients are now presenting and dying with liver disease at an earlier age, with a 5-fold increase in the development of cirrhosis in 35-55 year olds over the last 10 years.
  • Liver disease morbidity and mortality are largely preventable but majority of treatable liver disease is undiagnosed and untreated i.e. presents late.

"I believe that early referral is the key to preventing the complications of advanced liver disease, when it is too late. By using clinical examination, blood tests and non-invasive assessment of liver fibrosis I can provide a thorough risk assessment of your liver's function."