October is National Liver Awareness Month. The liver is one of the most vital organs in the human body. Therefore, how well we care for our liver affects the rest of our body’s functions and health. The liver has many functions. The most vital role is to break down nutrients and minerals in the blood of what we consume, produce bile for digestion, and filter out toxins in our blood.
Numerous diseases can damage the liver. The most common and increasingly growing concern is liver cancer, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and hepatitis. Liver disease is one of the top 3 leaded causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Early detection and treatment may prevent the further progression of these diseases because your liver can repair itself. However, once the liver reaches a certain point without treatment, the damage the disease has caused to the liver may become irreversible and lead to liver failure or death. Risk factors and causes of fatty liver disease include alcohol abuse, a high-calorie diet, chronic viral hepatitis, and poor lifestyle choices.
This month is especially meaningful to me. For ten years, my aunt suffered from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which eventually became cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is where your liver becomes severely scarred, the damage cannot be reversed, and there is no treatment other than a liver transplant. With cirrhosis, the patient’s liver shrinks and becomes hard, making it difficult for the liver to filter the large amounts of blood it’s supposed to. The two primary sources that supply blood to the liver are the hepatic artery and the hepatic portal vein. The scar tissue caused by cirrhosis prevents the blood from flowing through the portal vein. She underwent several other intensive procedures in hopes of prolonging the effects of the disease. One procedure she endured was the TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) procedure. This operation involves a small wire-mesh coil that creates a bypass to allow better blood flow between two veins in the liver. Unfortunately, these procedures were not enough to sustain her liver function and being unable to get onto the liver transplant list. My aunt passed away in 2018.
Fun Facts About Your Liver:
- The liver is the only organ in the body that can completely regenerate, requiring just a quarter of the original tissue.
- It is the heaviest organ in the body, can weigh up to 3 pounds
- Stores around 10 percent of your body’s blood at one time
At Component Supply, we have always believed that we are more than just a supplier and fabricator of metal and plastic tubing and wire. We promote and support research every day by supplying quality, affordable components faster than anyone. In honor of my aunt, Tammy, we will support labs and encourage research in this field throughout this month. If you are a researcher of liver disease, please reach out to us for opportunities to receive a discount on your standard or fabricated components for October.
Let us support your research and developments benefiting liver patients nationwide.
For more information about liver disease, visit: https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/the-progression-of-liver-disease/