What is Fatty Liver?
Hepatic steatosis also known as Fatty liver in common terms describes the buildup of fat on liver. Its normal to have small amount of fat on the liver, but too much of fat on the liver could lead to a health problem which could damage the liver.
The liver is widely responsible for a variety of functions in the human body. It filters harmful substances from the blood. It is also the second largest organ in the body. When the liver contains more than 5 percent fat then it should be diagnosed.
What causes Fatty Liver?
There are many factors such as high body weight, high processed sugar diet, diabetes, high triglycerides, genes and low physical activities also plays an important role in fatty liver. Nowadays, people with alcohol consumption or disorder are common to identified fat on liver. In scientific words, when human body creates too much fat and that excessive fat stored in liver cells, is accumulated as fatty liver disease. While in few cases side effects of medicines such as trexall, nolvadex, pacerone and depakote could lead to fatty liver.
What is the treatment of Fatty Liver?
When the fatty liver is mild, you can take few simple steps to reduce the risk of it. You can control it by following -
In severe cases, patients are recommended to take consultation from the doctor.
What are the symptoms of Fatty Liver?
In general fatty liver has no associated symptoms. According to studies, it is believed that excess fat in the liver increases inflammation and you may have symptoms such as -
In case of severe fatty liver which could lead to liver failure, patients could have symptoms such as -
How can I reduce my fatty liver?
When it comes to fatty liver there are few steps which can be followed to reduce the fat on the liver are -
Can I die from a fatty liver?
There are two types of fatty liver disease - alcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. As cleared by its name alcoholic fatty liver is caused by excessive consumption of alcohol. While nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by unhealthy lifestyle, excessive intake of sugar and carbohydrates and inflammation in the liver. When it comes to the life threat from fatty liver there is no such cases are seen. But alcoholic fatty liver disease can cause severe damage to the liver which could be life threatening for the people who are suffering from it.
Can fatty liver be cured completely?
There are many ways you can protect your liver from complications. You can follow few steps such as -
For alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcohol consumption should be avoided.
Workout or physical activity - it is necessary for a patient to do workout. It helps in reducing fat from the liver.
Balanced diet and healthy lifestyle - it is a key for being healthy. In such cases eating healthy and following healthy lifestyle makes a big difference.
The liver is the second largest organ in the human body. Everything that is consumed goes through the liver and gets metabolized. Generally the liver consists of fat accumulation, in the range of 2%, but when it reaches close to 10%, the condition is termed as fatty liver. Progression of fatty liver can lead to cirrhosis and eventually liver failure. The liver has an amazing ability to regenerate itself if a part of it is damaged.
However, if the damage is cumulative, then the repair becomes difficult. Another point to note is that the liver can be resected in parts to ensure that the non-affected liver continues to be available to take care of the metabolism.
Causes: There are two main types of fatty liver:
Symptoms: Fatty liver develops over years, and the symptoms are both vague and appear randomly. These can be attributed to any general illness, and so diagnosis is often delayed.
Diagnosis: If suspected of fatty liver, the following are done to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment: Fatty liver is a completely reversible condition. If a person with alcoholic fatty liver quits drinking for about 8 to 10 weeks, the damage can be totally reversed.
If there is no history of alcoholism but obesity, then switching to a non-fatty diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, multigrain, dairy products, etc., can help in controlling fat accumulation and use the stored fat. Increasing the levels of physical activity also helps in burning stored fat.
As noted, the liver is capable of self-repair and self-regeneration, so if further triggers are stopped, it can heal itself.
If fatty liver is not controlled, it can develop into cirrhosis and liver failure. If it reaches liver failure, then survival rates and prognosis look very gloomy.
Prevention: Fatty liver disease can be prevented by controlling alcohol intake, adopting a healthy lifestyle, eating non-fatty and non-sugary products, and maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle.
Monitor health periodically to check on liver function, diabetes, and cholesterol levels. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Fatty liver is a common condition among people. A study from coastal regions of India found ~ 25% of healthy persons had patients had fatty liver on ultrasound.
It can occur at all ages including childhood, highest prevalence is in 40–50 year age group. Prevalence more in patient who are obese and in diabetic patients.
Types of Fatty Liver
1 Alcoholic fatty liver: This condition occurs when there is a heavy consumption of alcohol. Gastroenterologists recommend abstention from alcohol for this condition to subside. If the patient continues to consume alcohol, then liver cirrhosis may develop.
2 Non alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL): One may develop a fatty liver even if one is not an alcoholic. The liver in some cases is unable to process the fat in cells causing them to build-up on the organ.
When more than 10% of the liver is made of fat then this condition is called Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver (NAFL).
Non alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH): When fatty liver is associated with inflammation in liver patient is said to be having Non alcoholic steatohepatitis. NASH is a more advanced stage of NAFLD, and has a higher risk of progressing to liver cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). These condition display symptoms like jaundice, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite and abdominal pain. Blood test (LFT) shows raised enzymes level. Approx 5-8% of the Indian population has NASH. Consult a doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
During the early stages (fatty liver) of the disease, patients usually have no symptoms directly related to liver disease. However, people may experience a vague abdominal discomfort. If their liver is inflamed (NASH) then they may display symptoms of poor appetite, weight loss, pain in the abdomen and disorientation.
What causes fatty liver?
The most common cause of fatty liver is alcoholism. When the human liver is unable to metabolize fat fast enough or when there is an excess accumulation of fat on the liver cells then the liver becomes fatty. However, intake of high-fat foods may not result in a fatty liver.
2 Obesity or being overweight
3 Hyperlipidemia or the condition where there are high levels of fat in the blood
4 Genetic reasons
5 Rapid loss of weight
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gastroenterologist.
Having some fat in your liver is legit. But, if you have too much of fat say more than 5%-10% of the organ's weight then you are at risk of getting fatty liver disease. At the onset, you can do one important thing to help your liver stop drinking. It causes fatty liver disease.
There are two main types of fatty liver disease
1. Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD)
Other root causes of ALD are:
2. Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
The cause of NAFLD is not clear, but we know that it tends to run in families.
NAFLD is also more common in the middle-aged and the obese or, those who have high cholesterol and diabetes.
Other risk factors are:
Symptoms of fatty liver disease
This disease can sometimes cause no symptoms for long. But, the things to look out for are-
In ALD, your symptoms get worse after bouts of heavy drinking. Fatty liver disease is diagnosed during routine exams when your doctor notices your enlarged liver. Ultrasound, blood tests to check for certain enzymes and biopsy of the liver are performed to confirm it.
The liver is a vital organ within the body, which functions as a filter for the blood that comes from the digestive system. One of the conditions that afflict this organ is fatty liver, which occurs due to the accumulation of triglycerides within it. There could be multiple reasons behind this, such as alcoholism, obesity, pregnancy, hepatitis among many others.
Homeopathy has some great treatments for fatty liver disease, depending on the cause.
1. Nux vomica: One of the major reason of developing a fatty liver is alcoholism. While drinking moderate amounts of alcohol isn't harmful, the tendency to drink very regularly will lead to fatty liver disease. In such cases you may feel pain in the abdomen, especially a few hours after eating. You may also suffer from constipation with cravings for fatty and spicy food. Nux Vomica is thus prescribed in these conditions.
2. Phosphorus: Fatty liver has many symptoms, which may manifest differently in different people. Many people complain about indigestion and sour belching. Your liver area may be painful and you may also vomit. You may constantly crave for foods such as ice-creams, juices and cold drinks. In such case,s you may feel weak after passing stool. Phosphorus is a great remedy in such cases.
3. Chelidonium: This is one of the best overall remedies for fatty liver. Some of the symptoms where Chelidonium may work are as follows:
4. Calcarea carb: If you are obese or fairly overweight and suffer from fatty liver, calcarea carbonica can be very effective in treating the symptoms. Some of the symptoms exhibited by the patients where this medication is effective would be a yearning for eggs, profuse sweating and sensitivity to air if it's cold.
5. Lycopodium: This medication is very effective in treating fatty liver disease, especially if you suffer from gastric issues and acidity. You may have symptoms like, bloating of the stomach, burning of the esophagus when belching or burping and pain in the upper right abdomen. You may also exhibit cravings for hot drinks and sweets.
Building up of fat in the liver is known as a fatty liver. There is some amount of fat in the liver which is normal for a healthy individual, but excessive fat accumulation in the liver can be a matter of serious concern.
The liver is an important organ which performs various necessary functions. It is the second largest organ in the human body and performs the function of processing the food and water that the body intakes and filters the unwanted and harmful substances from the blood. This function of the liver might be compromised if there is excessive fat accumulation in the liver. In this condition, vacuoles of triglyceride fats are present in the cells of the liver because of the abnormal lipid retention in the cells. When the fat metabolism process is disturbed it leads to the accumulation of high amounts of fat which results in a fatty liver.
Fatty liver can be an indicator of serious conditions if left untreated. Collection of fat cells in the liver is termed steatosis. In case inflammation is caused in the liver tissue because of these excess fat cells, the condition is known as steatotic hepatitis which should be taken seriously. A major cause of steatotic hepatitis is alcohol consumption or conditions which cause biochemical changes in the body. In case the problem is because of reasons other than alcohol, it is known as Non-Alcoholic Steatotic Hepatitis or NASH.
In case there is inflammation of the fatty liver, it can lead to scarring and also fibrosis of the liver. This is a serious condition which is known as cirrhosis and can lead to difficulties if left untreated.
This condition is reversible and can most often be taken care of by making healthy changes in one’s lifestyle. Fatty liver shows no signs in most of the cases and does not lead to any permanent damage to the liver in most of the cases unless the situation worsens or progresses. This condition can also become hazardous in case the underlying cause is not timely recognized and treated.
Grades/Stages of Fatty Liver
Fatty liver is most often not a serious and critical condition. The levels of development of the disease are divided into three grades, Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3. Each one of these stages is related to different signs and symptoms which become severe as the disease progresses. The first two stages can be handled with proper medicinal treatment but treating grade 3 fatty liver might be more challenging.
Fatty liver grade 1 is the onset of the disease. It is the beginning stage of accumulation of fats in the liver. The symptoms in this stage are not severe and it is not serious in most cases.
Fatty liver grade 2 is the situation when the amount of fat accumulation in the liver increases. As the level of the fat cells increases in the liver, the liver starts decreasing its functionality. Due to the invasion of fats into the cells of the liver, the cells that are responsible for carrying out different functions start dying. Medical attention is necessary at this stage.
Fatty liver grade 3 is the most severe and serious form of the condition. At this stage, the fat accumulation has spread to the entire liver. The liver becomes inflamed and the situation worsens. The blood vessels in the liver are not able to perform the function of pumping in the nutrients and pumping out toxins. Distension of the abdomen might also appear. The normal cells of the liver start fading and fibrotic cells start appearing. Significant diet changes are made at this stage. Fatty foods and red meat products should be avoided. Industrial cooking oils should not be used and should be substituted with coconut oil, flaxseed oil, sunflower oil etc. Intake of fresh fruits and vegetables should be increased.
The condition of fatty liver is due to the building up of more than normal fats in the liver. It is more prevalent in individuals who are obese or are overweight. Individuals suffering from Type 2 diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing fatty liver. Accumulation of fat is often connected to resistance to insulin which is the main cause of development of type 2 diabetes.
Other factors that are associated with the development of the condition are consumption of alcohol in excessive quantities, high levels of triglyceride fat cells in the body, a high level of cholesterol, high blood pressure patients taking long-term medicines for the condition, taking higher than usual and/or recommended dosage of some over the counter medicines like Tylenol etc. The risk is also heightened during pregnancy. Fatty liver might also affect individuals experiencing malnutrition. The condition of metabolic syndrome is also associated with the development of fatty liver.
Beginning stage of fatty liver disease generally shows no symptoms. Mild cases of fatty liver are mostly asymptomatic. Fatigue and abdominal discomfort might be experienced by the individual. This condition is usually uncovered during routine check-ups and physical examination. The liver might become enlarged which is detected by a physical examination.
Some people might experience vague symptoms such as fatigue even with little or moderate physical exertion, wanting to rest because of the feeling of discomfort, heaviness and fullness in the abdomen mostly in the upper right corner etc. Sometimes applying pressure might result in pain in the liver area. Liver inflammation might cause signs like confusion, pain in the abdomen, loss of weight, a poor appetite, weakness and fatigue etc.
If left unchecked and untreated, the fatty liver might transform into cirrhosis which is a serious and life-threatening condition. Symptoms of this condition include easy bleeding tendency, confusion, enlargement of the abdomen, fluid in the abdomen, symptoms of jaundice like dark coloured urine, yellow colour of the skin start appearing, inability of blood to clot, fine tremors of the fingers, poor memory and concentration, distending of veins in hands and legs, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, giddiness etc.
Most often the fatty liver disease occurs in people who indulge in heavy drinking and their alcohol intake is higher. Though, it might occur in people without any drinking problems.
There are various causes other than alcohol for the occurrence of fatty liver disease. These include metabolic syndromes which lead to an imbalance in the metabolic capacity in the body like glycogen storage diseases, acute fatty liver of pregnancy, abetalipoproteinemia, Weber-Christian disease etc. Other conditions like diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, Wolman’s disease, Galactosemia, Wilson’s disease and infections like tuberculosis and malaria are also known to be causes of fatty liver disease.
Various nutritional causes like obesity, malnutrition, sudden weight loss, gastric bypass, total parenteral nutrition, refeeding syndrome, jejunal diverticulosis with overgrowth of bacteria, jejunoileal bypass etc. are also some of the factors aiding in the development of the fatty liver disease.
Certain drugs like Valproic acids used in epilepsy, Sedatives, Anti-retroviral drugs, corticosteroids, methotrexate, Vitamin A overdose, Tamoxifen which is used in the treatment of breast cancer, medications like amiodarone and diltiazem which are used in treatment of heart conditions like high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats environmental hepatotoxins like phosphorous and mushroom poisoning are also some causes of fatty liver disease. Inflammatory bowel disease, hepatitis C particularly genotype 3, HIV, Celiac disease and alpha 1- antitrypsin deficiency can also be the cause of the development of a fatty liver.
Most often the diagnosis of fatty liver is incidental. Most of the individuals suffering from this condition are asymptomatic and the disease is uncovered through incidental abnormal tests like liver function tests or hepatomegaly done for other medical conditions that are unrelated. There is no particular test that can show whether the accumulation of fats in the liver is because of alcohol use or other factors. Thus, the doctor will inquire about the alcohol consumption habits of the individual to establish the reasons. This information helps the physician in determining whether the condition is ALD or NAFLD.
Various tests can be used by the healthcare practitioner to diagnose the disease. Some of the tests used are-
Physical Examination: In case of inflammation of the liver, the doctor can detect it by the examination of the abdomen for any enlargement of the liver. The doctor needs to be informed if the patient is experiencing fatigue, loss of appetite etc. The doctor also enquires about the alcohol history, medications and the history of supplement usage.
Blood tests: Blood tests might reveal high levels of liver enzymes in routine tests. Abnormal liver enzymes level in the blood give a deeper understanding of the cause of the disease as well as is an identifier of the problem. Liver function tests also provide an understanding of the efficiency of the treatment and the improvement that can be expected. But, this test does not fully confirm the diagnosis. Further analysis of the situation is necessary.
Imaging studies: Ultrasounds can also be conducted to diagnose the problem of fatty liver. It is a painless and a non-invasive test and can most often detect the condition accurately. The fat in the liver shows as a white patch on the ultrasound image.
Computed Tomography scan also knows as CT scan can also be performed as it can measure the organs and the inflammation accurately through the use of X-Rays. MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging can also be used to scan the internal organs. But these tests cannot confirm whether the individual has a simple fatty liver or NASH. Another kind of imaging study is a FibroScan, which helps in determining liver density and the fat tissues and normal tissues areas.
Liver Biopsy: In liver biopsy is performed, a needle is inserted into the liver for removal of tissue for examination. Anesthetics are given to the patient to relieve the pain. Through a liver biopsy, the doctor can certify of the disease and also know the cause of the condition.
There is no set method of treatment for fatty liver. Undergoing treatment for the underlying cause of the problem can help reverse the changes that have happened in the liver. Reducing the risk factors is often recommended. Some of the most common recommendations that are prescribed are:
Controlling cholesterol levels: Reducing the number of saturated fats in the diet can be a healthy approach which can help control and reverse the situation. Also, medications that lower cholesterol levels are also prescribed which can be used along with exercise and regular workouts to reduce and reverse fatty liver.
Exercise and Weight loss programs: The objective of these programs should be to lower the body mass index of the patient by around two units in comparison to the existing BMI. Aerobics is an effective way to burn off excess fat in the body. In order to reap long-term benefits, dedication and sustenance matter more than the intensity of the workout.
Controlling Diabetes: Lifestyle changes are required to move towards a healthy body and control diabetes. Management of sugar levels in the body can be done by taking proper medication. Controlling diabetes can stop the disease from advancing to the more stage of cirrhosis or failure of the liver.
Avoiding harmful substances: Substances like alcohol, certain drugs and fatty junk foods should be avoided to prevent the condition from advancing. Certain medications which can cause complications should also be substituted by consulting with a healthcare practitioner.
Protecting the liver from harmful substances is the most important way to avoid the occurrence of fatty liver. The reduction in alcohol consumption is the most important method to eliminate the risk of fatty liver. Smoking should also be reduced as it leads to various biochemical and hemodynamic changes which can cause liver damage.
A proper check should be kept on the weight. A healthy routine of exercising and a healthy balanced diet should be followed to maintain a healthy weight. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to prevent fatty liver. It is found in various natural sources like fish oils, walnuts and flaxseed oils. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the key to a healthy body.
What is Fatty Liver?
What causes Fatty Liver?
What is the treatment of Fatty Liver?
What are the symptoms of Fatty Liver?
How can I reduce my fatty liver?
Can I die from a fatty liver?
Can fatty liver be cured completely?