The liver is under the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen. It filters blood from the gastrointestinal tract, helps metabolize food, medications, and chemicals, removes toxins and waste products, and synthesizes essential proteins. This organ is remarkably capable of compensating when damaged. However, chronic liver damage that goes untreated can progress to liver failure. Causes of liver damage include excessive alcohol consumption, medications, viral infections, and autoimmune and genetic conditions.
A damaged liver has difficulty metabolizing fats and proteins from food. Bile production may slow down, making it difficult to deal with fatty meals. Also, if liver damage is chronic or severe, the vessels in the esophagus and stomach may dilate. In some cases, the dilated vessels may bleed, which is a medical emergency. People with chronic liver damage can also experience nausea, vomiting, and a distaste for meals high in fat and protein.
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