Fatty liver disease is an accumulation of excess fat in your liver cells. In some livers, excess fat can lead to liver inflammation. A liver in this condition is referred to as steatohepatitis.
Over time, an inflamed liver may scar and harden. Scarring of your liver is termed cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can produce progressive, irreversible liver scarring, and severe cases lead to liver failure. In other words, making it ultimately impossible for it to function.
But for some lucky ones, a fatty liver causes no damage.
Your liver fulfills several indispensable tasks, like:
- purifying your blood
- manufacturing vital nutrients
- detoxifying harmful substances
Excess fat in your liver is generally a symptomless disease, regularly discovered during a visit to your health care professional for another complaint. NASH can also accomplish its damage without causing symptoms.
However, as the disease worsens, you’ll likely start experiencing symptoms like:
- dark urine
- weight loss
- spider veins
- easy bruising
- lack of appetite
- legs & feet edema
- abdominal discomfort
- loss of sexual interest
- esophageal, intestinal bleeding
- dull upper right abdominal ache
It’s vital you get your fatty liver disease under control early.
The most prevalent cause for fatty liver disease is alcoholism. Exactly what causes the nonalcoholic form of fatty liver disease is still unknown.
Conditions and circumstances commonly linked to or possibly triggering the development of a fatty liver or NASH are:
- low level HDL
- rapid weight loss
- high triglycerides
- insulin resistance
- excessive calories
- abdominal obesity
- bacterial infections
- metabolic syndrome
- hormonal abnormalities
Some will develop fatty liver disease without having any of these maladies or situations touching their lives. And consuming an overabundance of fatty foods doesn’t yield a fatty liver.
Medications that reportedly play some role in causing fatty liver include:
- tamoxifen ~ breast cancer
- amiodarone ~ arrhythmias
- oral corticosteroids ~ prednisone
- synthetic estrogens ~ menopause
- methotrexate ~ rheumatoid arthritis
Paralleling the increased rate of individuals who are obese and diabetic, fatty liver disease is a growing medical issue and a major concern for those in the field. Some estimate it affects a third of American adults.
There’s no standard nor specific medical or surgical treatment for fatty liver. But there are some necessary obesity related measures to prevent or reverse some of its damage.
Chiefly, if you have fatty liver, and in particular NASH, you should focus on:
- diabetes control
- cholesterol lowering
- escalate physical activity
- feast on a balanced, healthy diet
- couple pounds a week weight loss
- toxic substance avoidance ~ no alcohol & certain drugs
Even if you aren’t overweight, a healthy diet and daily physical activity is your best defense against fatty liver disease.