Fatty Liver: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & More

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Fatty Liver is such a condition that holds the increase in the fat build up in the liver cells. This is generally caused due to the consumption of extra calories which do not get processed by the body.

It could lead to a disease known as fatty liver disease. It is a very common problem that could come into an occurrence of the storage of extra fat disposition in the liver cells.

Most of the people suffering from this disease do not show any sort of symptoms. It doesn’t cause any serious problems as such but still, it could lead to liver damage.

The best of this condition is that it could be reversed by having a change in the daily lifestyle.

all about fatty liver

Steatosis is the name for fatty liver disease which is caused by having a lot of fat build-up in the liver. Generally, a healthy liver consists of some amount of fat.

Fatty liver disease is a condition that is taken into account when the fat percentage is accumulated by 5 to 10% of your body weight.

What Is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?

NAFLD (Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) is such a condition that acquires the fat in excess amount and gets deposited there.

There are two types of fatty liver disease conditions namely NAFL (Non-alcoholic fatty liver) and NASH (Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis).

Symptoms

It is generally a disease that typically has very little or no symptoms. Some of the symptoms may include

  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes Type-2
  • Metabolic Syndrome

Causes

  1. NASH ( Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis)

    It is a form of NAFLD which causes inflammation in the liver and causes damage to it. This liver damage could be capable of developing Liver Scarring of Fibrosis and could lead to Liver Cirrhosis causing cancer in the liver.

  2. NAFL(Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver)

    It is also a type of NAFLD which could cause liver pain or may lead to enlargement of the liver. It could not lead to any other complications such as inflammation or cirrhosis.

NAFLD is a very common problem in people that have obesity or diabetes type 2.  Studies generally suggest that 75% of people with type 2 diabetes or who are suffering from obesity are more likely to develop NAFLD.

There is no specific age group in which a person could develop this disease and therefore.

  • Obesity.
  • Metabolic Syndrome.
  • High Blood Pressure.
  • High Cholesterol.
  • Triglycerides.
  • Cardiovascular Disease.

Diagnosis

The doctors you refer may use your medical history and a physical exam and some of the medical tests. These tests are conducted after at least twelve-hour fasting.

Doctors could use your blood test reports and may include imaging tests with the advancement of liver biopsy to diagnose the presence of NAFLD to differentiate between NASH and NAFL.

Treatment

Doctors could treat it by asking their patients to lose weight. The sole reason for this procedure is that it causes a loss in fat percentage and this could ultimately transcend to the reduction of liver inflammation and liver fibrosis.

Since then, no medicine has been approved until now for the treatment of NASH and NAFLD. This could be generally taken care of by focusing on precautions.

What Is Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?

Alcoholic Liver Disease is a very common disease that could be preventable easily. This sort of disease may be caused by the very heavy use of alcohol.

The liver is a part of the body that helps in the breaking down of alcohol. This is the reason that more consumption of alcohol could lead to damage to the liver cells. The alcoholic liver has the three stages which include

  • Fatty liver.
  • Alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Fibrosis.
  • Cirrhosis.

Symptoms

There could be a lot of symptoms of alcoholic fatty liver disease which could depend on the consumption of the amount of alcohol by a person. Some of the most common symptoms may include the following

  • Sudden loss of weight.
  • Weakness and Tiredness.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Loss of Appetite.
  • Yellowness in the eyes and skin.
  • Portal Hypertension.
  • Enlargement in the spleen.
  • Poor Nutrition.
  • Confusion.
  • Failure of Kidney.
  • Intestinal bleeding.
  • Ascites.

Diet

This is one of the most important points to be looked upon when trying to prevent fatty liver or recovering from it.

  • Nuts for the reduction of liver inflammation.
  • Increase in the consumption of unsaturated fat.
  • Garlic for the loss in weight to help reduce the fat percentage of the liver.
  • Sunflower seeds for the fulfillment of the antioxidant requirements.
  • Green vegetables and fruits help the prevention of fat buildup.

Diagnosis

The procedure of the diagnosis may compile the health history and physical examinations and other tests.  Some of the diagnosis procedures could include the following:

  • Blood Tests

    This includes liver function tests which could show whether the liver is in a proper working state or not. This may give a proper overview to the medical practitioner.

  • Ultrasound

    This test may include high-frequency sound waves to create a photo of the organs.

  • Liver Biopsy Tests

    This could give a proper outlook by taking small tissue samples from the liver using the needles or while having surgery. All of these samples get checked under a microscope to check the problems.

  • MRI

    This examination could be conducted in the high signal intensity on T1-Weighted images. The echo sequences during the ongoing examination may help in fat detection.

Treatment

People who have Liver, Alcoholic Disease may be given some of the following treatments which include

  • Propylthiouracil

    It is a kind of medicine that was originally used to treat the over-activeness of thyroid glands.

  • Anabolic Steroids

    The careful monitoring of a medical professional is required as per the need for anabolic steroids.

  • Liver Transplants

    It is done in case the liver shows its incapability the functioning which leads to the failure of the liver.

    A liver transplant could be taken into consideration if there is a development in progressive failure in the liver, you are fit for the operation of the liver, and if there is a commitment to not drinking alcohol for the rest of your life.

Symptoms Of Fatty Liver

Fatty liver generally shows no symptoms but when it shows it may include some of the symptoms mentioned below

  • Pain in the upper abdomen.
  • Fatigue
  • Discomfort in the right side of the abdomen.
  • Red Palms.
  • Yellowish skin and eyes.
  • Swelling in the Abdomen.
  • Enlargement of Spleen.
  • Enlargement in the vessels of blood just beneath the surface of the skin.

Fatty Liver Treatment

This is not any certain treatment but self-care and lifestyle changes could do wonders. Some of the points which could be considered are mentioned below

What Causes Fatty Liver Disease?

It is generally caused by the excess fat stored IN the body. Apart from this, there could be various other factors that could cause fatty liver disease that are

  • Occurrence of triglycerides.
  • Obesity.
  • Resistance of insulin.
  • Obesity.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Side effects of medicines.
  • Some of the rare genetic conditions.
  • Hepatitis C.

Diet And Nutrition For Fatty Liver

Having a healthy diet and weight could help in the reduction of fatty liver disease. This could also help in the prevention of fatty liver disease. Some of the recommended diets for fatty liver disease are as follows

  • Green vegetables and fruits help the prevention of fat buildup.
  • Coffee to prevent the abnormal enzymes of the liver.
  • Soy and Beans to prevent the risk of NAFD.
  • Oatmeal for maintaining the required amount of fiber.
  • Fish for reducing the fat and inflammation of the liver.
  • Turmeric to reduce liver damage.
  • Nuts for the reduction of liver inflammation.
  • Increase in the consumption of unsaturated fat.
  • Garlic for the loss in weight to help reduce the fat percentage of the liver.
  • Sunflower seeds for the fulfillment of the antioxidant requirements.

How To Reverse Fatty Liver?

The fatty liver could be controlled by losing about 3%-10% of body weight according to some of the recent studies done on reversing fatty liver diseases. The following could be considered to have a reverse effect on fatty liver

  • Exercises.
  • Diet.
  • Weight loss medicines.
  • Weight loss surgery.
  • Controlling diabetes.
  • Controlling high cholesterol levels.
  • Control the high triglycerides.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Having a check on polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Controlling underactive thyroid.
  • Hypopituitarism.

Life Expectancy With Fatty Liver Disease

As per the recent statistics, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease may reduce life expectancy by around 4.4 years in men and around 4.2 years in women.

Of the patients, about 30% of them end up with a problem of inflamed liver or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or scarring.

Jaundice or Liver Cirrhosis could be the final stage that could cause liver cell damage and prove to be fatal.

Conclusion

All the above points mentioned indicate the most informative facts about the fatty liver. Fatty liver is a widespread disease these days and it can affect a person of any age group so prevention and a healthy lifestyle are a must.

The above article could be summed up by concluding that although the fatty liver is a common health disease but still if it is avoided, it could lead to potential health problems. 

So, it is better to have a healthy lifestyle and stay fit. Since there is no specific medicine for the treatment of fatty liver.