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Understanding Fatty Liver Disease: Time to Act for a Healthier You!

Dr. Pankaj Mandale 148 Views
Updated: 21 Jun 2024
Published: 21 Jun 2024

Fatty liver disease is one of the most common diseases and is becoming chronic in Western countries. According to AIIMS, 38% of Indians have fatty liver disease. 

As you may know, the liver is the largest organ in our body. It helps us digest food, breaking down nutrients from food and eliminating toxins. Blood passes through the liver to filter before entering any other body part. The collection of more fat in the liver is called fatty liver. When it affects the normal functioning of the liver, it can lead to fatty liver disease.

Fatty liver disease is described as a silent epidemic because it is unnoticed or undiagnosed during the initial stages of fatty liver disease. Most people don’t know that they are having it. They learned about it by scanning the abdomen for other reasons.

Types of Fatty Liver Disease You Should Know About

Individuals with fatty liver disease are diagnosed with either of the two following types. 

  1. Alcoholic fatty liver disease (ALD)
  2. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

As the name suggests, excess fat accumulates in your liver if you consume a lot of alcohol. But it can reverse once you stop drinking alcohol. If you don’t stop drinking, then you will face serious health issues.

First, you are affected by liver enlargement, and then after some time, it becomes alcoholic hepatitis, and over time, it becomes alcoholic cirrhosis, which is fetal. Don’t worry. Fatty liver treatment is available. Consult your doctor to plan treatment and manage your alcohol consumption habit.

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Unlike ALD, doctors are not sure what causes NAFLD. Obesity and diabetes might increase the chances of getting NAFLD, which has two types.

Simple Fatty Liver: Having extra fat in your liver. There is no inflammation or harm to your liver.  It doesn’t get worse or create issues in your liver. Most of the people affected by NAFLD have this.

Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH):  This type is a serious problem. If you have NASH, then your liver has inflammation, and your liver tissues are probably damaged. It needs fatty liver treatment. It may lead to liver failure and liver transplantation if not attended at the earliest.

Recognising Symptoms and Diagnosis of Fatty Liver Disease

Symptoms

There are no symptoms for ALD and NAFLD, but with NASH or Cirrhosis, you will have the following symptoms,

  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Larger-than-normal breasts in males 
  • Enlarged blood vessels beneath your skin
  • Reddish palm
  • Yellowish skin and eyes caused by the illness known as jaundice
  • Nausea, appetite loss, or weight loss
  • Fatigue or disorientation

Diagnosis

Most people don't have symptoms of fatty liver disease. Doctors find it challenging to diagnose. They follow various methods to find fatty liver disease, such as,

Underlying Fatty Liver Causes

When you eat a lot of calories and the liver is not functioning properly, fat builds up in your liver. Obesity, alcohol abuse, malnutrition and diabetes are also some of the other causes of fatty liver disease. Many people have fatty liver disease even though they do not have the above conditions. You might also be diagnosed with this condition for genetic reasons.

Managing Strategies for Fatty Liver Treatment

When you are affected by fatty liver disease, doctors suggest you reduce your weight. Weight loss reduces the fat in the liver. For NAFLD, doctors may provide some medicine changes if you are gaining weight because of some medicines.

For ALD, stopping alcohol is the first advice from your doctor. If you can’t stop it, they suggest therapies or alcohol recovery programs. Some medicines can help you stop your cravings to drink.

However, both diseases can lead to cirrhosis. It can be treated by medicines or other medical procedures. But if it leads to liver failure, liver transplantation is needed.

Lifestyle Changes for a Healthier You

    Following a healthier lifestyle is the best fatty liver treatment you can take for fatty liver diseases. Not only for this disease, a good lifestyle is crucial in this digital world as the number of diseases is increasing due to poor lifestyles. Some of the changes that might help,

    • Weight lose
    • Follow Mediterranean diet
    • Avoid Alcohol
    • Exercise regularly

      Key Takeaways!

      Fatty liver disease is when you have extra fat in your liver. They are of 2 types. One is due to excess alcohol consumption, and the other one is due to other fatty liver causes like diabetes, obesity, etc. Fortunately, changes to your lifestyle, including improving your workout diet and cutting back on alcohol, can lessen or even repair liver damage.

      FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

      1. Can a fatty liver be reversed from damage?

        Answer:- Yes, fatty liver can be reversed by changing your lifestyle.

      2. What is the last stage of fatty liver disease?

        Answer:- Cirrhosis liver scarring is the last stage that leads to liver failure and can be treated by liver transplantation.

      3. Which fruit is good for the liver?

        Answer:- Grapefruit, blueberries, cranberries, olive oil, fatty salmon, and cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts or broccoli are a few examples.

      4. Can I leave fatty liver untreated?

        Answer:- No, fatty liver should be treated; otherwise, it gets worse and leads to liver failure.

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