Digestive Function/Dysfunction Essay

2145 words - 9 pages

DIGESTIVE FUNCTION/DYSFUNCTIONThis paper will describe the structure and function of the liver. A brief outline of the different types of Hepatitis will be given and how they are caused. The signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B shall be described in more detail, alongside the risk factors associated with the spread of this disease. This paper shall also discuss preventative measures, which should be taken by Health care workers to prevent the spread of Hepatitis B, and also the lifestyle factors and approaches towards health promotion which should be taken, to reduce the risk of this blood-borne disease.Figure 1: Diagram showing were the liver is situated in the Human Body. (http://www.ace.ac.nz/doclibrary/images/organs2.jpg).The liver is the largest gland in the body and an important organ that has multiple functions it weighs approximately 3 lb and contains 300 billion cells. The liver lies in a sheltered position in the right side of the abdominal cavity beneath the diaphragm, where it is partly protected by the rib cage. The liver is intraperitoneally located, on one side it is linked with the lesser curvature of the stomach by the peritoneal folds, on the other side with the anterior abdominal wall by the crescent-shaped ligament. This ligament is connected to the round ligament of the Liver, which is remnant of uterine life. The liver is reddish brown in colour and consists of two lobes, the right and the left, both of which are made up of thousands of lobules.Figure 2: Diagram showing the physiology of the liver(http:// www.nucleusinc.com)The right lobe is about six times the size of the left, these lobes are wedge-shaped, smooth textured and feel rubbery. They contain hundreds of cells that resemble fine spokes, which multiply from the central vein, in a network of blood channels called sinusoids (Gregoire 1992).Structural components of the liver include:Hepatocytes: These are parenchyma cells that form plates they are the main functional cells of the liver.Sinusoids: These are the wide vascular channels that separate the plates of hepatocytes. The majority of cells lining the sinusoids are endothelial cells however, scattered among these cells are specific macrophage type cells termed Kupffer cells these are part of the liver's defence system.Bile ducts: These carry bile from the hepatocytes eventually into the duodenum. Bile is produced in hepatocytes and is secreted into a network of minute bile canaliculi (no discrete structure of their own) positioned between plasma membranes of adjacent hepatocytes. This network drains into small bile ducts, then into medium sized and large ducts and eventually into the common bile duct, which empties into the duodenum.Portal tracts: These are islands of connective tissue containing branches of the portal vein and hepatic artery, running side by side, that bring blood to the sinusoids. They also contain bile ducts, which carry bile in the opposite direction to the blood...

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