Today fatty liver is one of the most common disease but it is not still clearly understood. It is estimated that at least 1 out of 4 people suffer from it, which means the numbers are more than diabetes and arthritis combined.

Many patients don’t even know that they have the disease. Mostly the liver disease is a mild one but at times it can lead to more serious health problems. The only advantage is that often you can control or reverse fatty liver with some lifestyle changes.

Know your fatty liver

When there is too much of fat accumulation in the liver, it causes fatty liver disease. There are two types of fatty liver, the first one is Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and the second is Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. The extra amount of fat will sometimes prevent the liver from working properly. The liver actually filters toxins out of our blood and if it stops working it could lead to serious health problems.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

This is the most common type of fatty liver disease and generally it is harmless. But at times a person may develop more severe version called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This results in a swollen liver and leads to liver cirrhosis (scars on the liver that don’t heal). This condition also increases the chance of getting liver cancer and heart disease. This disease is the major reason for liver transplantation.

Who is at risk of NAFLD?

It is still perplexing why some people get the disease and some with the same conditions don’t get it. You are more at risk if your are overweight, obese, have diabetes, have high cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure or have hepatitis C and other liver infections. Certain medications, drugs for cancer and heart problems can also cause NAFLD. Middle age people are more likely to get NAFLD, but it can affect anyone, even kids.

Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

This is seen more in habitual drinkers and people who take alcohol without limits. Being overweight and being a woman will increase your risk further. Certain hereditary genes also can give the problem. If a person keeps on drinking then it may lead to hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver failure and higher odds of liver cancer.

Symptoms of fatty liver

Mostly a person will have no symptoms and so many people don’t realize they have the disease for many years. But generally symptoms may include pain or pressure in the middle section or right side of the belly and feeling fatigued. Fatty liver and related problems can also make a person lose appetite and weight.

Diagnosis of fatty liver

Since there are no symptoms doctors may sometimes miss the problem and even lab tests may not catch it. Some blood tests specifically check how well the liver is working. Doctors will also do an ultrasound or CT to see how the liver looks. Based on the severity a biopsy may be the final test.

What are the treatments?

Even today there is no specific medicine for fatty liver disease. Whereas there’s lot you can do to control the disease and even make it go away. The most important way is to change your lifestyle by doing regular exercise, losing weight and stop drinking alcohol etc. which will control the condition.

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