The liver is the largest organ in our body, but in some ways, it is also the quietest. As a result, liver diseases often do not have external symptoms, so they are challenging to detect.
Proper functioning of the liver is essential for maintaining good health (that is, to put it somehow, our purifying machine). Therefore it is convenient to know the possible problems that it may suffer. One of the most common is fatty liver.
What Is The Fatty Liver Disease?
The scientific name is hepatic steatosis, and it is a disease in which the liver accumulates fat. Condition of the severity of the individual in each case, this accumulation affects liver functions, causing inflammation and damage to the cells. And tissues of the organ leading to cirrhosis (a chronic disease) or liver cancer.
There are 2 fatty liver types: alcoholic fatty liver and nonalcoholic fatty liver.
Alcoholic Fatty Liver
The liver is an organ used for breaking down alcohol so that it can be. Still, in the process, substances that are harmful to the organ itself have produced that cause inflammation and cell damage. So the more alcohol you take, the more damage you do to the liver.
Alcoholic fatty liver is the first stage of alcoholic liver disease, continuing to develop in alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver
As the name suggests, this problem is not related to alcohol consumption, and doctors are unsure what causes it. Still, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and other lifestyle-related problems are known to be risk factors.
Depending on its severity, we speak of simple fatty liver, in which there is fat in the liver. The cells are damaged, and there may be inflammation, which can lead to fibrosis of the liver tissue and permanent damage. Still, the tissues are not damaged, and the functions are not affected, or non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis.
Causes Of Fatty Liver
As we have explained, alcohol is a known cause of a certain type of fatty liver. And that is why its consumption should always be the minimum possible, or even zero. There are many alternatives to alcoholic beverages that do not cause as much damage to the body.
Beyond alcohol, the specific causes of fatty liver are unknown. However, it seems to be closely related to our diet and specifically to the consumption of fat.
There are specific risk factors for fatty liver disease that increase your chances of suffering from it: having type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes; suffer from obesity; be a middle-aged man or older, although the disease can also occur in children and young people; have high levels of fats in the blood, such as triglycerides or cholesterol; have high blood pressure; some anticancer drugs, as well as corticosteroids; lose a lot of weight very fast; some infections, such as hepatitis C.
Although alcohol has been the leading cause of fatty liver for decades, in recent years. There has been an increase in cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver in minors due to overweight and obesity-related to the consumption of ultra-processed foods, fats, and sugars.
It is important to teach from small healthy lifestyle habits and lead by example: healthy eating and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle.
How To Detect?
As we said, the problem with many liver diseases is their discretion. In many cases, they hardly show symptoms, and that makes them more challenging to detect.
In the case of fatty liver, it usually starts the diagnosis after abnormal results in medical tests or analyses, making the doctor suspect a pathology. And which is the one that checks that the liver is working or not as it should.
Sometimes some symptoms are visible. For example, unwanted fatigue, pain in the upper right abdominal area, or, in the most exceptional cases, jaundice, that is, a yellow discoloration of the skin.
Fatty Liver Disease Treatment
There is no single and effective treatment to treat fatty liver today. Some research suggests the potential of some diabetes medications, as well as vitamin E. Still, there are no solid conclusions on this yet.
In the case of alcoholic fatty liver, the first step is to quit alcohol altogether. As for the non-alcoholic fatty liver, the first medical recommendation is to lose weight. That can reduce the amount of fat in the body and the liver.
If the cause is any medication, you may need to stop taking it. But it is a decision that you should not make without the advice and supervision of a doctor.
When a case of fatty liver worsens and ends up leading to hepatitis or cirrhosis, in many cases, need specific treatments and surgical interventions to solve and avoid the damage.
Preventive Measures To Avoid
- Cut alcohol consumption as much as you can.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Keep your weight at bay and practice a healthy lifestyle.