What is Fatty Liver Disease? – Causes of Fatty Liver Disease – Types of Fatty Liver Disease

What is Fatty Liver Disease?

The Fats that are prominent on the Belly or Thighs are hard to ignore.  There are many Fats in the Liver that are normal. If these Fats are more than 5% to 10% of the weight of Liver, than it can be a condition of Alcoholic or Non-Alcoholic Liver disease. This disease is known as Fatty Liver Disease. This disease can lead to serious complications.

In Fatty Liver Disease, the Fat is buildup in the cells of Liver. According to the American Liver Foundation, about 10 to 20% of people in United States of America suffer from this disease.

Liver

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Types of Fatty Liver Disease

Following are the types of Fatty Liver Disease

  1. Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.
  2. Alcoholic Hepatitis
  3. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  4. Nonalcoholic Steatorrhoeic Hepatitis
  5. Acute Fatty Liver in Pregnancy
  1. Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

    The consumption of large amount of Alcohol can cause Fats in the Liver Cells. The Liver is breaks down the Alcohol that is found in the Blood. One of the byproducts of Alcohol metabolism is Fat. Jackson Sigelbaum, an expert of Gastroenterology says that when we drink large amount of Alcohol, the Liver has to break large amount of Alcohol, it results in the huge amount of Fats in the Liver. At this stage, Fatty Liver is treated y avoiding the consumption of Alcohol.

    Other factors that increase the chances of developing Fatty Liver Disease may include

  2. Alcoholic Hepatitis

    This condition is also known as the Inflammation of Liver. If a person who has Alcoholic Fatty Disease, continue to consume large amount of Alcohol, he will develop Alcoholic Hepatitis. In this condition, the Liver is damaged due to Inflammation. Serious symptoms of this disease occur at this stage.

    Stopping the consumption of Alcohol at this stage can help reducing the Inflammation of Liver.

    Alcoholic Hepatitis

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  3. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

    Fatty Liver Disease can also occur in those people who do not drink Alcohol. In this case, a metabolic disorder occurs in which the Fats are accumulated inside the Liver.

    Eating Fatty foods do not cause the Fatty Liver Disease rather Complex Metabolic Functions can cause Fats to get stored in the Liver.

    Diseases like Obesity, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure increases the risk of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

    The Mayo Clinic reports, about 20 to 40% of obese people can develop this condition.

    Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

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  4. Nonalcoholic Steatorrhoeic Hepatitis

    If Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is not treated, it can transform in to nonalcoholic Steatorrhoeic Hepatitis. Just like Alcoholic Hepatitis, this condition is also caused by the inflammation of Liver that results in the accumulation of excess Fats in the Liver. At this stage, the Liver starts getting damaged.

    If the causes of the Fatty Liver Disease are not treated, permanent damage can occur to the Liver, this is a life-threatening condition that leads to the Liver Cirrhosis.

  5. Acute Fatty Liver in Pregnancy

    This condition is very rare but Fats are developed in the Liver of mother during Pregnancy. It can lead to risky conditions both for Mother and the Fetus. It can also lead to the Liver failure, Kidney failure, Infections or Hemorrhage. Hormones can contribute to this disease.

    If this condition is diagnosed then doctors try to deliver the baby as quickly as possible, the mother requires special care for few days and the Liver functions normal within few weeks.

Causes of Fatty Liver Disease

The causes of Fatty Liver Disease are not much clear. Few factors scan increase the risk of Fatty Liver Disease. Sometimes the trend of Fatty Liver Disease runs in the family.

It is mostly found in the people who are aged or are overweight. Obese or overweight people often have high Cholesterol, Triglycerides and Diabetes.

The factors that may contribute to this disease are

  • Stress can cause damage to the Cells of Liver.
  • Death of Liver’s Cells.
  • Release of harmful Proteins from Fat, Liver and other Cells.
  • Medications
  • Hepatitis
  • Autoimmune Liver Disease
  • Weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Overgrowth of Bacteria in intestines

Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease

The symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease are usually silent, especially in the beginning. Following are the symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Pain in Right Abdomen
  • Enlarged Liver
  • Darkness of Skin, especially on Neck and Underarm.
  • Fluid retention
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Jaundice
  • Liver failure

Diagnosis of Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty Liver can be diagnosed during regular check up. The doctor may notice that your Liver is either enlarged or there are signs of Fatty Liver on Blood test. The doctor will be able to diagnose the problem after knowing the health history of a patient or doing a Physical Exam.

  1. Blood Tests

    An increase in the Enzymes of Liver can be seen during Blood tests. These Enzymes may include Alanine, Aminotransferase or Aspartate Aminotransferase.

  2. Imaging Technique

    A Fatty Liver may also be diagnosed with the help of imaging tests like X-Rays and Ultrasounds.

  3. Liver Biopsy

    The only way to confirm the diagnosis of Fatty Liver Disease is Liver Biopsy. Liver Biopsy is done when other symptoms of this disease get prominent.

    After the application of Local Anesthesia, the doctor puts a needle through the Skin to take a small piece of Liver. This piece is then checked under a Microscope for the clues of Fat, Inflammation or damaged cells of Liver. If the inflammation or damage is not there then it would be a Fatty Liver.

Treatment of Fatty Liver Disease

There is no specific treatment for the Fatty Liver Disease. It is essential to take treatment for any hidden disease causing this condition like Diabetes etc.

If you are suffering from Alcoholic Liver Disease and you are drinker then you should avoid drinking. If you continue to drink Alcohol then it can lead to diseases like Alcoholic Hepatitis or Cirrhosis etc.

If you are Obese then first of all, you should try to reduce more than 1 or 2 Pounds a week. A recent study showed that weight loss of about 9% per month can help in preventing from Nonalcoholic Steatorrhoeic Hepatitis.

Try to eat balanced, healthy diet and try to increase your Physical activity. Try to avoid the diets that are rich in Carbohydrates including White Bread, White Rice and Sugar etc.

Avoiding unnecessary medicines can also prevent from this disease. Researchers are also trying to find the effectiveness of some Antioxidants and the latest Diabetes medicines in treating the Fatty Liver.

These Antioxidants may include

  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium
  • Betaine
  • Metformin
  • Rosiglitazone
  • Pioglitazone

If Cirrhosis becomes severe than a Liver Transplant is required, for the treatment of Liver.  In surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged part of Liver and replaces it with the healthy Liver.

Complications for Fatty Liver Disease

The complications for Fatty Liver may include Cirrhosis and Primary Liver Cancer.

Many people now days are suffering from this disease. If any one of you has any problem related to liver or suffers from any of the above mentioned symptoms, you should consult a doctor to know, whether your Liver is safe or not.

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