Fatty liver disease is a common condition caused by the accumulation of excess fat in the liver. Most people have no symptoms, and it doesn't cause serious problems. However, in some cases, liver damage can occur. The good news is that fatty liver disease can often be prevented or even reversed with lifestyle changes.

Eating too many calories causes fat to build up in the liver. Too much fat accumulates when the liver doesn't process and break down fats properly. People tend to develop fatty liver when they have other conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, or high triglyceride levels.

There are Mainly Two types of fatty Liver :

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

Alcoholic fatty liver disease is also called alcoholic steatohepatitis. In individuals who drink lightly and develop fatty liver, one or more of the following factors may play a role:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • High blood fat levels, particularly triglycerides
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Some Types of infections, Hepatitis C
  • Steroid use

The main stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are Simple fatty liver disease (steatosis): an essentially harmless accumulation of fat in liver cells that can only be diagnosed by testing for another reason. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH): a more severe form of NAFLD in which the liver becomes inflamed.

Fatty liver can go through four stages:

  1. Simple fatty liver: Excess fat builds up in the liver. Simple fatty liver is mainly harmless unless it progresses.
  2. Steatohepatitis: In addition to excess fat, there is inflammation in the liver.
  3. Fibrosis: Stubborn inflammation in the liver has now led to scarring. However, the liver can continue to function normally.
  4. Cirrhosis: Scarring of the liver is common and affects the ability of the liver to function correctly. This is the most severe stage and is irreversible.

 The symptoms of fatty liver disease are:

  • Abdominal swelling (ascites)
  • Dilated blood vessels just below the skin's surface.
  • Enlarged spleen.
  • Red palm trees.
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

Both AFLD and NAFLD present in a similar manner. In many cases, however, fatty liver causes no noticeable symptoms. However, you may feel tired or experience discomfort or pain in the upper right abdomen.

 Some people with fatty liver disease experience complications, including liver scarring. Scarring of the liver is called hepatic fibrosis. If you develop severe liver fibrosis, cirrhosis is a life-threatening condition that can lead to liver failure.

 Liver damage from cirrhosis is permanent. That's why it's so important to prevent them in the first place.

Your doctor may recommend these tests if you have developed signs or symptoms of liver disease, or they may be ordered as part of a routine blood test. Your doctor may use one or more of the following imaging tests to check for excess fat or other problems with your liver:

  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • MRI

In many cases, lifestyle changes can help identify most stages of reverse fatty liver disease. For example, your doctor might advise you to:

  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • Take steps to lose weight
  • Change your diet
  • Avoid medications and supplements that damage your liver
  • Eat a nutritious diet. Eat foods that are low in excess calories, saturated fat, and trans fat
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week

In general, the prognosis of fatty liver disease is better when treatment is started in the early stages before fibrosis and cirrhosis begin. For best results, it is essential to follow the treatment plan recommended by your doctor and lead an overall healthy lifestyle.

Also, Read: What is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?

with Dr. Ajitabh Srivastava


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