How much do you know about your liver?

doctor holding liver
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It doesn't get the fanfare of the heart and no one writes poems or songs about it. But the liver does hundreds of jobs to keep your body healthy. Test how much you know about this organ.

Question 1 of 12

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Your liver is one of your smallest organs.

No way. In the world of body parts, your liver is huge. It's your second-largest organ — other than your skin — weighing in at just about three pounds.

Question 2 of 12

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Your liver is shaped like:

Your liver looks like a football that's flat on one side. It's a deep, dark red color and it's located under your rib cage on the right side of your body.

Question 3 of 12

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scientific image of the liver
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What's your liver's job?

Your liver is the hardest-working organ in your body. It has about 500 jobs. Basically it takes everything that you eat or drink and either finds a way for your body to use it or eliminates it from your system.

Question 4 of 12

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liver with gallbladder
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It's bad when your liver makes bile.

One of your liver's jobs is to make bile — a thick juice that helps with digestion. During digestion, your body draws nutrients, including fat, from the food you eat. Bile helps absorb that fat into the bloodstream. Bile is stored in the gallbladder until it's called upon to do its digestion job.

Question 5 of 12

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Your liver can regrow all by itself.

If your liver is damaged or removed, it can regenerate to build itself back. The liver is the only organ in your body that has that ability. Even if only 25 percent of your liver is healthy, it can grow back. It's this ability that is the reason people are able to donate parts of their livers.

Question 6 of 12

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There are many liver diseases linked to:

One of your liver's many jobs is processing alcohol to help get it out of your body. But if you drink a lot and your liver can't keep up, you can be prone to liver damage. Alcohol-related liver diseases include alcoholic cirrhosis, fatty liver disease and alcoholic hepatitis.

Question 7 of 12

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There is no vaccine for which type of hepatitis?

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Although hepatitis A, B and C may have similar symptoms, they are caused by different viruses and are transmitted in different ways. There are vaccines to prevent types A and B, but no vaccine for hepatitis C.

Question 8 of 12

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Acetaminophen is perfectly safe for your liver.

Taking too much of this painkiller (Tylenol) can cause severe liver damage. Acetaminophen is found in hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medications including combination drugs that treat a variety of symptoms. Most people shouldn't take more than 3,000 mg daily — the equivalent of six extra-strength Tylenol tablets — from all drug sources combined.

Question 9 of 12

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woman with jaundice
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Jaundice is caused by too much of what?

Bilirubin is a yellow substance that your body makes as it breaks down old blood cells. It's your liver's job to filter out bilirubin, but if there's too much of it for your liver to handle, it can build up in your bloodstream. The yellow pigment can cause your skin and eyes to look yellow.

Question 10 of 12

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Liver disease typically:

You can have liver disease for a long time before you show any symptoms. In fact, up to half of all people with acute liver disease never have any symptoms at all. If you do have any signs, they're often vague — like fatigue or nausea. Sometimes you'll have abdominal pain. Blood tests are the one way to diagnose a liver problem.

Question 11 of 12

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What are liver function tests?

Liver function tests, also known as a liver profile or a hepatic function panel, are a group of blood tests that are used to check the liver for disease, infection or some kind of injury. If a problem is suspected, then other tests — like an ultrasound or CT scan — may be needed.

Question 12 of 12

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transplant surgery
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You must be related to someone to donate part of your liver.

Most donors are relatives or good friends. However, if you are healthy and your blood and tissue types are compatible, you can donate part of your liver to a family member or a stranger. Most clinics choose donor candidates who are under 55 or 60 years old because it takes longer for your liver to grow back as you age.
Quiz sources: National Institutes of Health, WebMD, Mayo Clinic, American Liver Foundation

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doctor holding liver
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