The liver is the second largest organ in your body. It helps to process nutrients from food and drinks and filters out harmful substances from your blood. Too much fat buildup is also known as Fatty liver or hepatic steatosis. Having small amounts of fat in your liver is normal, but too much can become a health problem. It may lead to liver inflammation, which can damage your liver and create scarring and in most cases, scarring may lead to liver failure. In early stages, the condition is reversible but once it worsens it often leads to progressive liver disease.
How can you identify liver disease?
Most patients do not have any symptoms initially. Some of them notice symptoms of fatty liver once the liver disease progresses. They can experience the following symptoms.
- Loss of appetite
- Bleeding with minor trauma
What may cause a Fatty Liver?
One of the foremost factors is obesity. India, with about 41 million people ranks third after the US and China with having the highest number of overweight people in the world. Surprisingly Indian women tend to be more obese when compared to their male counterparts.
Other factors may be the following
- Diabetes and high cholesterol levels
- Increased blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- Excess Body Fat around the waist
- Abnormal cholesterol or triglycerides
Why is it considered to be a serious condition?
Lack of awareness about the seriousness of the condition is a major concern. A fatty liver if left undiagnosed or untreated can not only lead to progressive liver damage but it may also lead to liver cancer. You may want to bring it to the medical attention of the doctor in case you are diagnosed with a fatty liver.
If this is accompanied by any liver test abnormalities you may be needed to see a liver specialist. It is usually diagnosed with a routine ultrasound. A Liver function test may be done to evaluate any kind of liver damage. Grade 1 of the fatty liver is an early stage one that can be usually reversible, provided risk factors mentioned above. As the stages increase, liver damage can be seen explicitly.
Fatty liver can progress through 4 stages:
- Simple fatty liver: There is a build-up of excess fat in the liver.
- Steatohepatitis: In addition to the excess fat, there is inflammation in the liver.
- Fibrosis: Inflammation in the liver can lead to scarring.
- Cirrhosis: The most dangerous stage. Scarring of the liver has become widespread.
What will be the treatment generally offered?
The first line of treatment is usually weight loss through a combination of a healthy diet and exercise. Losing weight addresses the conditions that contribute to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. There are many drugs in the pipeline but none have been sufficiently studied to make a recommendation. Vitamin E is said to have shown some benefit. If advanced liver disease is present, a transplant may be a curative option that provides a liver transplant in Chennai.
You must remember that fatty liver is a disease of lifestyle. A holistic approach is required for prevention and dietary changes alone will not be beneficial as it must be accompanied by exercise.
At Venkataeswara Hospitals, your health is our passion! Meet our specialists for holistic, sustainable long-term care. Venkataeswara Hospitals’ Medical Gastroenterology team is experienced in the field of medicine that deals with the gastric system. Our gastroenterologists in Chennai deal with the diagnosis, treatment, management, and cure of gastrointestinal and colorectal diseases.