The Largest internal organ in the human body, the liver, is one of the most important organs and performs vital metabolic functions. Fatty liver or steatosis can be diagnosed when the liver cells contain too much fat. This condition can develop in anyone. It is more commonly seen in those who are obese or have liver diseases like hepatitis, cirrhosis, and alcoholic liver disease.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms associated with this condition, it is crucial to seek an early diagnosis from a liver specialist in Delhi. This article will provide essential information about fatty liver, including its causes, symptoms, and available treatments.
Let’s get started.
An Overview of Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease, or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is an umbrella term used to describe fat accumulation in the liver. In most cases, this is attributed to poor dietary habits that cause liver inflammation and damage over time. The condition affects millions worldwide, with estimates suggesting that up to 25 percent of adults may have fatty liver disease. BLK Max hospital provides expert treatment and cares for people with this condition.
Types of Fatty Liver Disease
➔ Acute fatty liver of pregnancy (AFLP): AFLP is a rare disorder that develops during the last trimester and typically resolves once the baby is born. This type of fatty liver disease can cause complications in both mother and baby and even be fatal if left untreated.
➔ Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): NAFLD is a broad term used to describe any fat accumulation in the liver cells when an individual does not drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
➔ Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD): AFLD results from alcohol abuse and can occur even after drinking for a short period.
Symptoms of Fatty Liver
Fatty liver progresses through four stages, including:
● Simple fatty liver
The liver is filled with fat at this stage, but there are no other signs or symptoms. This condition may go unrecognized and can be discovered during routine medical tests.
At this stage, more than 5% of the liver is composed of fat cells. The most common symptom is an enlarged liver. Other symptoms may include fatigue, weight loss, and abdominal discomfort.
Fibrosis is an advanced stage of fatty liver disease. At this point, the fat has caused the liver to become inflamed and scarred. Common symptoms include yellowing of the skin (jaundice), abdominal swelling, pain in the upper right side, nausea, vomiting, dark-coloured urine, itchy skin, and fatigue.
This is the most advanced stage of fatty liver disease. The scarring of the liver caused by fibrosis has progressed to a point where the normal structure and function of the liver have been substantially damaged. Symptoms associated with cirrhosis may include jaundice, ascites, difficulty with thinking and concentration, easy bruising and bleeding, and fatigue.
Causes of Fatty Liver Disease
The major causes of fatty liver disease include:
1. Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages is the most common cause of fatty liver disease in developed countries.
2. Obesity: Obesity is a significant risk factor for fatty liver disease. Excess body fat can increase triglycerides and other fats in the bloodstream, which then accumulate in the liver cells.
3. Diabetes: People with diabetes are more likely to develop fatty liver disease due to high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.
4. High Cholesterol: People with high cholesterol levels may be at a greater risk of developing fatty liver disease. Cholesterol can accumulate in the liver cells, leading to inflammation and fat accumulation.
5. Metabolic Syndrome: Metabolic syndrome is an umbrella term for several conditions that increase the risk of health problems, including fatty liver disease.
6. Medications: Some medications, such as corticosteroids, certain antibiotics, and tamoxifen, can cause fatty liver disease.
7. Nutritional Deficiencies: Nutrient deficiencies such as a lack of vitamin D and essential fatty acids can lead to the development of fatty liver disease.
8. Other Causes: Other causes of fatty liver disease include metabolic disorders, hepatitis, pregnancy, rapid weight loss, and certain toxins.
How is Fatty Liver Diagnosed?
Fatty liver is usually diagnosed with a physical exam, blood tests, and imaging studies such as an ultrasound. The doctor may also perform a liver biopsy, which involves taking a small tissue sample from the liver for analysis in a laboratory. The results of these tests help determine whether the patient has fatty liver, what type it is, and how severe it is.
The Bottom Line
Fatty liver is a common condition that affects many people. It can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, diabetes, and other medical conditions. If left untreated, fatty liver disease can cause serious complications such as cirrhosis or liver failure. It is important to take action when you begin noticing symptoms of fatty liver and seek medical advice from your doctor if you are concerned about the possibility of having this condition.
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