Here is some more liver disease facts, courtesy of my friend Shawnee because she is awesome and has been putting together some great facts. Sorry for stealing your facts Shawnee, hope it is okay.
1. Liver disease often develops undetected over years, without obvious symptoms. Many people are diagnosed with liver disease after abnormalities are detected during routine blood tests. This is how Rick was diagnosed with PSC. His doctor was very concerned because his liver levels were WAY above normal.
2. Hepatitis C is the number one reason for liver transplantation in the US.
3. The liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself. I think that is actually really cool. I mean imagine such a vital organ being able to regrow and function as if nothing had ever happened to it. It is really amazing.
4. PSC (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis) is a disease that damages and blocks bile ducts inside and outside the liver. Bile is a liquid made in the liver. Bile ducts are tubes that carry bile out of the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine. In the intestine, bile helps break down fat in food. In PSC, inflammation of the bile ducts leads to scar formation and narrowing of the ducts over time. As scarring increases, the ducts become blocked. As a result, bile builds up in the liver and damages liver cells. Eventually, scar tissue can spread throughout the liver, causing cirrhosis and liver failure. This is the liver disease that Rick has.
5. Cirrhosis is a disease of the liver in which there is a loss or a damage of liver cells, leading to the irreversible scarring of the liver. Due to the scarring of the tissues, the flow of blood through the liver is not smooth and hinders the critical functions of the organ.
The liver is certainly a complicated organ. Without a normally functioning liver the entire body can suffer. There are so many side effects and complications that come with having liver disease.
I will write about how PSC has damaged Rick's liver in an upcoming post. So stay tuned.