Why the Liver is Important and How You Can Check It

It’s time for your liver to receive some of the recognition it deserves. Sitting in the upper right portion of the abdominal cavity, this large internal organ is responsible for more than 500 functions that are critical to your wellbeing. Via the process of metabolism, the liver converts the nutrients from our diets into substances that the body can use, storing and distributing essential nutrients to cells when needed.

The liver is also responsible for:

  • Clearing the blood of harmful toxins including waste products and drugs
  • Breaking down hormones and old blood cells
  • Storing and supplying vitamins, minerals and iron to cells when needed
  • Aiding digestion
  • Producing essential proteins.

A healthy liver will perform its functions like clockwork. But a damaged liver will lose its ability to perform any number of its vital functions.

Damage to your liver may result from:

  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Poor diet
  • Hepatitis viruses
  • Some genetic defects and autoimmune disorders.

How can you check your liver?

It is very important to make sure your liver is performing at the best of its ability, and to do this you can check your liver with a LiverScan with a liver specialist.


What is a LiverScan?

LiverScan is a liver ultrasound, using transient elastography, that determines Fibrosis (Liver stiffness/Scarring) and steatosis (fatty change). LiverScan measures the velocity of a shearwave (vibration wave) generated on the skin by the ultrasound probe. Shear Wave Velocity measures the time the wave takes to penetrate the liver. The longer the penetration time, the higher the fibrosis score – more stiffness/scarring of the liver. The LiverScan also measures steatosis (Liver Fat Content).


What Are Liver Function Tests?

Liver function tests, or LFTs, are blood tests that test the levels of certain proteins and enzymes that are either produced by liver cells or released into the blood when liver cells are damaged. This can provide important insight into how your liver is working, however, they are not always accurate and further testing may be required. You should always discuss your results with your doctor to understand their meaning.

Do you know if your liver is healthy?
Once damaged, your liver will require extra care. Limiting alcohol consumption and following an appropriate diet (often including significant weight loss in some cases) can help decrease further liver damage. If your liver is severely damaged over a period of time, it may not recover.

It is extremely important that you know the state of your liver. We need to start the conversation early.

If you have any concerns about your liver, it is important to have it scanned to make sure everything is okay.

Other reasons for a LiverScan include:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Haemochromatosis
  • Hepatitis
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Pain
  • Abnormal LFTs
  • If you have any concerns.