Did you know that the liver is the second largest organ in your body? Yes, it is true and the liver’s primary function is to remove toxins and process food nutrients.
Fatty liver disease, also known as hepatic steatosis, is a condition where excess fat is built-up in the liver cells.
Fatty liver may cause no damage but too much fat in the liver can cause liver inflammation, which can damage your liver and create scarring.
When fatty liver develops in someone who consumes alcohol it is known as AFLD(alcoholic fatty liver diseases) and if it affects a non-alcoholic then the condition is known as NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases)
Causes of fatty liver:
When the liver does not get to break down fat as part of its normal functioning, too much fat gets accumulated. People with conditions such as obesity, diabetes also tend to be affected by fatty liver diseases.
Risk involved in fatty liver diseases:
The risk factors include
- Increased triglyceride levels
- Insulin resistance
- Metabolic syndrome
It is also to be noted that people without the above-mentioned conditions also might result in fatty liver diseases.
Other potential causes of fatty liver include:
- side effects from some types of medications
- some types of infections, such as hepatitis C
- certain rare genetic conditions
Symptoms of fatty liver diseases:
Fatty liver by itself does not have any specific symptoms, hence you get to know about it when you conduct tests for other conditions.
Fatty liver can progress through four stages:
Simple fatty liver – this is when there is a buildup of excessive fat in the liver. This stage is not harmful until it progresses.
Steatohepatitis : A condition where in addition to excess fat there is also inflammation in the liver.
Fibrosis: Continuous inflammation in the liver results in scarring.
Cirrhosis: when scarring in the liver spreads affecting the functioning of the liver. This is a severe stage and is irreversible.
Cirrhosis may cause one or more symptoms from the list below:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Dark-coloured urine
- Yellow skin and eyes
- Fluid accumulation in the abdominal area
- Pale stool
- Swelling in the leg, to mention a few.
Diagnosis of fatty liver:
If your suspected to have fatty liver our doctors from Sahasra Hospitals might ask you a few questions to understand the root cause:
- Family medical history
- Lifestyle habits
- Medical conditions
It’s important to keep your doctor informed if you are noticing any recent body condition changes.
Based on the consultation our doctors might also recommend the below:
- Physical Examination
- Get a blood test done
- Or conduct imaging tests such as ultrasound, Fibroscan, CT scan or MRI scan.
If required our doctors may also suggest a liver biopsy for it is the best way to determine the severity of liver diseases.
Prevention and reversal of fatty liver disease:
In general, if you have fatty liver, and in particular if you have NASH, you should:
- lose weight gradually
- lower your triglycerides through diet, medication or both
- avoid alcohol
- control your diabetes
- eat a balanced, healthy diet
- increase your physical activity
- get regular check-ups from a doctor who specializes in liver care.
If you have been diagnosed with fatty liver our doctors at Sahasra will work closely with you to plan your diet.
It could start with “A Balanced Diet”, plan meals that include a healthy mix of all kinds of food – that could include fruits and vegetables, greens, low fat dairy products, whole grains etc.
Cut unwanted calories. Cut down on junk food/fatty food and high calorie food products.
Plan meals with high fibre content.
Reduce or cut down on alcohol consumption.
Last but not the least stay hydrated.
These are some general recommendations from our doctor’s desk. However, to know more and to get a consultation done please do contact us on +91 8880837000 for an appointment