Fatty liver disease is when a person has too much fat around their liver. It occurs when a person drinks too much alcohol, but people who do not drink can also suffer from this disease. The buildup of fat around the liver makes it hard for the liver to function properly. It is preventable and the sufferer usually improves once he or she stops drinking alcohol.
Fatty Liver Disease Risk Factors
Millions of people suffer from fatty liver disease. Many of them do not receive a diagnosis until the later stages of the disease. While it can take time for symptoms to appear, there are some indicators and risk factors that make people more likely to develop fatty liver disease. These indicators include:
Fatty Liver Disease Causes
There are two types of fatty liver disease. The consumption of too much alcohol causes alcoholic fatty liver disease. Medical experts are not sure what causes non-alcoholic fatty liver tissue. Some things that doctors believe contribute to the disease include:
Fatty Liver Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of fatty liver disease can vary by individual. Many people do not exhibit symptoms until the disease has progressed to cirrhosis. Some of the most common symptoms of the early stages of fatty liver disease include,
Fatty Liver Disease Diagnosis
Because many people do not show symptoms of fatty liver disease until it is in the later stages, it is hard to diagnose. In many cases, doctors find fatty liver disease when they are doing X-rays to diagnose or treat other health problems. If doctors suspect fatty liver disease, they may do tests to confirm the diagnosis. Those tests include,
- Complete blood count
- Liver enzyme and liver function tests
- Tests for chronic viral hepatitis
- Celiac disease screening test
- Fasting blood sugar
- Hemoglobin A1C, which shows how stable your blood sugar is
- Lipid profile, which measures blood fats, such as cholesterol and triglycerides
- CT Scan
- Liver tissue examination
Fatty Liver Disease Treatment
Doctors will recommend for patients who suffer from fatty liver disease, to lose weight. This can help reduce the amount of fat around the liver and correct the problem. For severely obese patients, weight loss surgery may be an option. Patients suffering from alcoholic fatty liver disease should stop drinking immediately. If the disease is in the late stages, a liver transplant may be necessary. There are currently no drugs that are successful in treating the disease.
Fatty Liver Disease Prognosis
Weight loss and lifestyle changes can usually reverse fatty liver disease. For example, an alcoholic just needs to stop drinking. If left untreated, fatty liver disease can lead to cirrhosis and become fatal.
Fatty Liver Disease Complications
If left untreated or if treatments are not successful, fatty liver disease can lead to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can be fatal. Other complications of the disease include liver cancer, gastrointestinal bleeding, and liver failure.