Love your liver month

January is Love Your Liver month. So, what better time to take a look at this vital organ, what it does in the body and how to keep it healthy.

What is the liver and what does it do?

The liver is a spongy, wedge-shaped organ in the human body. The size of your liver varies based on your height and weight. The liver is an essential organ, performing hundreds of necessary functions. It's also a gland because it makes proteins and hormones that other parts of the body need.

The liver does many important tasks, including:

  • Breaking down food and turning it into energy
  • Clearing the blood of particles, infections, and bacteria
  • Combating infections
  • Controlling levels of fats, amino acids, and glucose in the blood
  • Making enzymes and proteins which are responsible for most chemical reactions in the body
  • Manufacturing, breaking down and regulating hormones including sex hormones
  • Neutralising drugs and toxins
  • Processing digested food
  • Storing iron, vitamins, and other essential chemicals

What conditions affect your liver?

There are many conditions which can negatively affect the liver. Some of the most common include:

  • Alcohol-related liver disease and fatty liver disease
  • Inherited diseases like hemochromatosis (iron overload) and Wilson disease (too much copper in the body).
  • Liver cancer
  • Problems when the immune system attacks the liver, such as autoimmune hepatitis, and primary biliary cholangitis and primary sclerosing cholangitis
  • Viral infections, such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Many of these conditions can lead to scarring of the liver, known as cirrhosis. Sometimes, the damaged liver tissue can regenerate. Other times, liver disease can cause serious symptoms and even be life-threatening.

What are the symptoms of liver problems?

One of the most common signs of a liver problem is jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. This happens when there’s too much bilirubin – a waste product produced in the liver – present in the blood. Other symptoms of liver problems can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Build-up of fluid in the stomach area
  • Bruising easily.
  • Confusion or loss of orientation
  • Itchy skin.
  • Low blood pressure
  • Swelling in the legs or ankles
  • Tremors
  • Weakness, loss of balance or constant fatigue.

How can you keep your liver healthy?

Keeping your liver healthy is incredibly important, considering just how many vital functions it performs throughout the body. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to keep your liver happy.


  • Avoid toxins, such as chemicals, smoking and illegal drugs.
  • Don’t share needles, razors, toothbrushes, or any other personal items, which can spread viruses.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Follow healthcare professionals’ instructions about medications, especially relating to mixing medications and alcohol.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly.
  • Practice safe sex to avoid hepatitis infection.
  • Wash your hands frequently.

Testing your liver function

If you’re concerned about your liver function you may want to consider getting tested for confirmation. Armed with this information, you can make more informed decisions to optimise your health and wellbeing.

Our Comprehensive Plus VIP includes tests for red and white blood cell quality, thyroid function, kidney and liver function, a check for diabetes, as well as essential elements and vitamins allowing you to check your current nutritional status and overall health.

Secure Payment

Our blood tests are 100% confidential and all results are sent to your dedicated email address you provide us with upon ordering.

Booking your private liver function test

We can make sure the experience is as easy, convenient, and painless as possible. By partnering with Spire Healthcare, we make the process simple and seamless by offering easy-to-book appointments at your local Spire Hospital. Here’s how it works:

As well as liver function tests we have a comprehensive range of health checks and diagnostic blood tests available. After you have selected the right test for you, simply order online through our secure payment system or chat to a member of our team. Once your order is placed, you’ll receive all the information you need to arrange your convenient blood draw appointment at one of our Spire Hospital locations.

Your pathology passport – the information sent to you after you place your order – will also tell you whether you need to fast ahead of your test. Included in each request for testosterone testing are:

  • A doctor’s referral
  • All phlebotomy
  • All laboratory fees
  • Our GP’s comments

How your appointment works

We partner with Spire Healthcare to offer a professional phlebotomy service. This guarantees that your blood samples are taken and handled correctly and that your results are processed efficiently by clinical professionals. Our confidential blood examination for testosterone levels is available at over thirty private clinics around the UK.

Unlike home testing healthcare kits, where you take the sample yourself, our trained professionals reduce the likelihood of errors such as collecting an insufficient amount of blood or accidental contamination, which could delay your test results.

At your appointment, the friendly team will talk to you about your test, collect your blood sample and send it off for testing at an accredited partner laboratory. All you need to do is arrive for your appointment. We’ll take care of the test, and the rest.

Clear, accurate results

The time it takes to receive your results will depend on the type of test you have chosen. When they are ready, your results will be sent directly to you, via email, within the time specified. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of your results through the post, that can easily be arranged for you.

You can also choose the option of reported or unreported results. Reported results include information and comment from our GP which you may find helpful to discuss with your own consultant, or for your records.

Find out more and book your liver function test

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