Fatty liver disease
Overview of fatty liver disease
Fatty liver disease is a condition in which there is excess levels of fat being deposited on the liver in people who do not drink alcohol or drink very less.
In this condition there is a high level of accumulation of triglycerides and other fats in the liver cells and may lead to inflammation called steatohepatitis While every liver has some amount of fat, if the percentage of fat accounts for more than 10 percent of its weight, it is a case of fatty liver disease.
Symptoms of fatty liver disease
In general, people with fatty liver disease have no symptoms and go about their life in a regular fashion. However, there are cases where symptoms like discomfort in the abdomen at the level of the liver, fatigue, a general feeling of being unwell may appear. In such cases it is best to see a doctor at the earliest.
Causes of fatty liver disease
The foremost cause of fatty liver disease, where it is not induced by alcohol, is obesity. Besides obesity there are other causes that can causes fatty liver disease include cases of malnutrition and hunger, type II diabetes, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and rapid weight loss. There are other rare causes like a disorder in lipid metabolism, mutation in the gene, forms of Glycogen storage diseases and even rarer disease like the Weber–Christian disease. Abuse of drugs and chemicals, corticosteroids, tetracycline and carbon tetrachloride can also lead to fatty liver disease.
Risk factors for fatty liver disease
Risk of fatty liver disease increases manifold when certain conditions prevail.
This could include:
- High cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides in the blood
- Metabolic syndrome
- Certain medications
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Rapid weight loss
- Type 2 diabetes
- Wilson's disease
Diagnosis of fatty liver disease
People rarely test themselves for fatty liver and in most cases is discovered by chance when testing for some other problem.
Blood Tests: Blood tests that measure liver function and lipid profile often throw up results of a fatty liver.
Imaging: Imaging procedures like a liver ultrasound can detect any abnormality in the shape and consistency of the liver. Similarly computed tomography (CT) gives a detailed 360 degree view of the liver as a thin X-ray beam rotates around the patient.
Liver Biopsy: If the doctor suspects the condition to be serious he may order a liver biopsy may be needed to make a definite diagnosis. The test also helps in defining the stage of disease and severity of liver inflammation. The tissue sample is examined in a laboratory to look for signs of inflammation and scarring.
Treatment of fatty liver disease
The foremost method of treatment for anyone with fatty liver is to lose weight when obese. It is important to get off from fried food and ones that have high fat content. Those with diabetes must get their sugar levels under control so that a fatty liver can return to its normal state. All patients with fatty liver are also advised to restrain from drinking alcohol. Sometimes medicines used to treat cholesterol like Udiliv is also suggested to control fatty liver disease. There is no specific medication for fatty liver and cure mainly lies in getting your lifestyle correct. In acute cases where there is a liver failure, a person may need a transplant.
According to a recent research by Dr Danny Manor, an associate professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio, US, eating leafy greens, sunflower oils, nuts and spinach could alleviate the symptoms of liver disease. Scientists believe that eating foods which are high in vitamin E could reduce the symptoms of liver disease which has been brought on by obesity.
Prevention of fatty liver disease
The best prevention for a fatty liver is to carefully choose what you eat. Patient with a fatty liver should resist meat, cheese or anything that has high fat content. Fast food is particularly bad. A healthy plant-based diet that consists of a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains is desirable. It is also very important for a person to maintain a good body mass index and keep a tab on the weight. Obesity induced fatty liver is the most common and a good exercise regime should be able to take care of it. Maintain a healthy weight.
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: January 26, 2015