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Is it Possible to Live with Half a Liver?

Is it Possible to Live with Half a Liver?

Our liver is the second largest organ in our body; our skin being the first. More than being a reddish-brown organ hidden deep inside the body, it is one of the main reasons for us being alive. The liver performs a variety of functions to ensure we are healthy and living a disease-free life. The liver being so vital for our survival, do you think living without the liver or living with half a liver is possible?

Before we dive straight into whether living with half a liver is possible, let’s know some unknown facts about this vital human organ.

Living with Half a Liver: Getting to Know the Basics

The reddish-brown, glandular, lobed organ is situated on the right side of your abdominal cavity. It sits on top of the gallbladder right next to the pancreas and the intestines.

Divided into two lobes, the chief function of the liver is to work as a team with these surrounding organs and help digest and absorb the food you eat. The blood that comes from your digestive tract is first filtered by the liver and then sent to the other parts of your body.

living with half a liver

Is living with half a liver or no liver possible?

Well, the answer is YES and NO. The liver is one of the most important organs in our body crucial for existence. While we can very well lead a healthy life with just a part of our liver, we sure can’t live without it at all.

This is what will happen if we begin to live without our liver:

  • The clotting mechanism in our blood gets affected. Blood doesn’t clot and we will suffer from uncontrolled bleeding.
  • No filtration of toxins and chemicals and the digestive byproducts that will start building up in our bloodstream.
  • Our body will lack its immunity to fight against bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Fatal swelling of the brain may occur.
  • Death isn’t far away without a liver.

Interesting facts about the liver

Aside from how you can living with half a liver is possible, here’s a list of ten fascinating facts about the liver that may surprise you.

The liver lives on

If you got 75% of your liver removed today, the remaining 25% will regenerate into a full-sized liver in about 8-15 days. How cool is that?

The new liver will match with the old part of the liver and start functioning the moment it starts regenerating. This is how humans can manage living with half liver and live on. This is the only organ that can regenerate on its own. Hence the name ‘liver’!

Multi-faceted

The liver is both an organ as well as a gland. It has dual personalities with the job of being an organ-specific to one region in the body-as well as being a gland that secretes hormones. The liver filters the toxins from and pushes them out of our bodies.

Multi-tasker

The liver performs a minimum of 500 different functions in the body.

It as a blood purifier and filter, breaks down old blood cells, produces proteins required for clotting of blood, and many other such vital functions. It plays a key role in the digestion of food by secreting bile that is required for the breakdown of fats.

The organ also stores glucose in the form of glycogen. This helps in maintaining blood sugar levels. It is a storehouse of all fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K.

Detoxifier

All the alcohol and/or drugs that we put into your body are filtered and removed out by our liver. This organ detoxifies our internal system by removing the toxins from our bodies.

Fat retainer

About 10% of our liver is made of fat. Fatty liver results if the fat content goes above 10%. This is caused mainly due to obesity and puts us at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Iron storage

Along with the fat-soluble vitamins, the liver also stocks up on iron and makes it available during the time of our body’s needs.

Blood production

The red blood cells are produced in the liver. This blood is then circulated throughout the body. Without the liver, there would be no blood circulation. No blood, no life.

Protein creator

Our body requires protein for proper functioning. The liver produces its own protein that is required for important functions in the body. These enzymes help in the formation of blood clots to stop any kind of bleeding in the body.

Medicine modulator

The medicines that we put into our bodies are not directly digested. They are first broken down in the liver and converted to a usable form, something which our body accepts.

Cholesterol levels

Our liver is a great indicator of good health. Due to the fatty liver, the level of bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood keeps increasing. Fatty liver occurs when the excess fat in our body starts getting accumulated around the liver.

5 ways to promote a healthy liver

Here are 5 ways by which you can be kind to your life-giver, even if you’re living with half a liver.

Have a healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle includes healthy eating, daily exercise, and adequate sleep. Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining our liver’s health.

  • Consume more fiber-rich foods along with low-fat and lean proteins. Avoid fried foods, red meat, etc. so as to reduce the pressure on the liver.
  • Eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables can help boost your immunity. Stay hydrated by keeping your fluid intake at a minimum of 1.5-2 liters of water daily.
  • Reduce your sugar and fat intake. Stop consuming processed foods as much as possible.
  • Daily exercise with the right amount of nutrition will help boost your immunity and build your stamina against all disorders.

Stop alcohol for a healthy liver

Alcohol is known to scar your liver for life. Avoiding it altogether can help maintain your liver’s health and keep diseases like cirrhosis at bay.

Avoid popping medicines for a healthy liver

All the pills that you pop in are filtered by your liver. This leads to a lot of damage to this super organ. Think before you pop!

Prevent liver diseases

Avoid hepatitis A, B, C, E by vaccinating yourself, practicing safe sex, having safe blood transfusions, consuming healthy, cooking food under hygienic conditions. Hepatitis A and E are food-borne illnesses that affect your liver and damage it.

Wash your hands before and after eating to avoid contamination of food. Hepatitis B and C are diseases that spread via the exchange of bodily fluids and can harm your liver.

Hence, avoid unprotected sex, reuse of needles and syringes, etc. to steer clear of these deadly diseases. Getting vaccinated against these diseases will help maintain your liver health.

Stop smoking for a healthy liver

Cigarette smoking is a hazard for your lungs as well as overall health. Smoke along with other environmental toxins can prove to be harmful to your liver.

Hence, avoid smoking, active as well as passive. Also avoid direct contact with chemicals like insecticides, fumes from paint thinners, aerosol sprays that are known to be hazardous for your body.

Learn more interesting health facts like living with half a liver and keeping your digestive system healthy here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Caring for Your Liver / https://www.thewellproject.org/hiv-information/caring-your-liver /  Accessed September 2, 2021

How Much of My Liver Would I Need to Donate to Save Someone’s Life? / https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-much-of-my-liver-would-i-need-to-donate-to-save-someones-life/ Accessed September 2, 2021

A Healthier Diet, A Healthier Liver, A Healthier You
13 Ways to a Healthy Liver
Accessed September 2, 2021
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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated 2 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.
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