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Liver failure


Tags: liver, gallbladder, jaundice, yellowing of skin/eyes, cirrhosis, hepatitis, Epstein Barr virus, alcohol abuse, liver disease, cause of death, Cholecystitis, liver failure, ascites


Located in the upper right portion of the abdomen, the liver and gallbladder are interconnected by ducts known as the biliary tract, which drains into the first segment of the small intestine (the duodenum). Although the liver and gallbladder participate in some of the same functions, they are very different.

Functions of the Liver

The liver manufactures about half of the body's cholesterol. The rest comes from food. Most of the cholesterol made by the liver is used to make bile, a greenish yellow, thick, sticky fluid that aids in digestion. Cholesterol is also needed to make certain hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, and the adrenal hormones, and is a vital component of every cell membrane. The liver manufactures other substances, including proteins needed by the body for its functions. For example, clotting factors are proteins needed to stop bleeding. Albumin is a protein needed to maintain fluid pressure in the bloodstream.

Sugars are stored in the liver as glycogen and then broken down and released into the bloodstream as glucose when needed—for example, during sleep when a person spends many hours without eating and sugar levels in the blood become too low.

The liver also breaks down harmful or toxic substances (toxins) absorbed from the intestine or manufactured elsewhere in the body and then excretes them as harmless by-products into the bile or blood. By-products excreted into bile enter the intestine, then leave the body in stool. By-products excreted into blood are filtered out by the kidneys, then leave the body in urine. The liver also chemically alters (metabolizes) drugs (see Drug Metabolism), often making them inactive or easier to excrete from the body.

A variety of illnesses can affect the liver

  • certain drugs like excessive amounts of acetaminophen, and acetaminophen combination medications like Vicodin, Norco, and statins,
  • cirrhosis,
  • alcohol abuse,
  • hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E,
  • Epstein Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis),
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,
  • iron overload (hemochromatosis),
  • liver failure
  • liver cancer

People Who Died of Liver Failure:


  • See: People Who Died of Liver Failure (33 people listed)
  • Truman Capote (1924-1984) American author, screenwriter, actor
  • Chloe Jones (1975-2005) American pornographic actress
  • Barbara Payton (1927-1967) American film actress
  • Derek Newark (1933-1998) English actor
  • Emma, Lady Hamilton (1765-1815)

Famous People Who Died of Cirrhosis:


  • See: Famous People Who Died of Cirrhosis (120 people listed)
  • Billie Holiday (1915-1959) American jazz singer & songwriter
  • Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) American novelist
  • Gail Russell (1924-1961) American film & TV actress
  • Daniel Webster (1782-1852) American senator & statesman
  • Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) Portuguese poet, writer
  • Matthew C Perry (1794-1858) Commodore of the US Navy in several wars esp. War of 1812
  • Murad IV (1612-1640) Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1623-1640

Additional Reading:

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