Fatty liver disease is often overlooked by today’s fast-pacing population. Since the illness is time-dependent, a patient normally misconstrues the initial curveballs that this disease throws out. Fatty liver is known as hepatic steatosis that happens when a layer of fat deposits around the liver. Excessive fat may cause inflammation and scarring and can damage your liver utterly. In extreme cases, scarring can lead to liver failure. If you are diagnosed with fatty liver disease, you should consult with the best liver hospitals in India without any delay.
Types of Fatty Liver Disease
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: If you have excess fat in your liver without any history of alcohol, then you are suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This type of fatty liver disease includes simple non-alcoholic fatty liver, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and acute fatty liver of pregnancy (AFLP).
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD): Consuming a lot of alcohol may damage your liver. Once your liver is damaged; it is unable to break down fat properly. As a result, fat is deposited around your liver. That’s why this condition is known as alcoholic fatty liver disease. AFLD includes simple AFLD and alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH). Alcoholic steatohepatitis occurs when the excess fat build-up is accompanied by liver inflammation.
Causes of Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver occurs when your body produces excess fat or doesn’t metabolize fat efficiently. Some prime causes of fatty liver diseases are,
- High blood sugar
- Insulin resistance
- High levels of fat (especially triglycerides in your blood)
- Infections like hepatitis C
- Exposure to some toxins
- Some medications like methotrexate (Trexall), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), amiodarone (Pacerone), and valproic acid (Depakote)
Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease
In many cases, people may not experience any symptoms. If you develop severe scarring in your liver because of fatty liver, it can lead to liver cirrhosis. Some symptoms of liver cirrhosis are,
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Fatigue and weakness
- Yellow skin
- Swelling in your legs
- The cluster of blood vessels under your skin
Diagnosis of Fatty Liver
If you have any symptoms, your doctor will conduct a physical exam and may advise going for several tests.
Physical exam: If there is inflammation, your doctor may press on your abdomen. If your liver is enlarged, the doctor can feel it.
Blood tests: To check fatty liver disease, your doctors will prescribe some blood tests like the alanine aminotransferase test (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase test (AST). All these tests will help him to check your liver enzymes. Elevated liver enzymes are a sign of liver inflammation. Fatty liver disease is a prime reason for liver inflammation.
Imaging studies: Your doctor will advise you to conduct imaging tests to check for excess fat for your liver.
- CT scan
- Fibro scan
Liver biopsy: To determine the severity of liver disease, a liver biopsy is recommended. This test identifies whether you have liver disease and liver scarring.
Treatment of Fatty Liver Disease
Currently, there is no permanent cure or treatment for fatty liver disease.
If you have alcoholic fatty liver disease, your doctors will recommend
- limit or avoid alcohol
- Try to lose weight by doing exercises
- make changes to your diet
If you have cirrhosis as a result of scarring, your doctor will prescribe medications and advise you for lifestyle changes. If you develop liver failure because of cirrhosis, you may need liver transplant surgery. Many hospitals are offering the best liver transplant in India so that patients can get back to their normal lives. In a liver transplant surgery, your diseased liver is removed and replaced with a healthy liver of a donor (living or deceased).
According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin E supplements are beneficial in preventing or treating liver damage caused by fatty liver disease. But more research is needed to support this claim.
By changing your lifestyle, you can reverse fatty liver disease. But if you have cirrhosis, this can enhance your chance of developing liver cancer and liver failure.
So, if you have been diagnosed with fatty liver disease, follow your doctor’s treatment plan and practise a healthy lifestyle.
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