What is Fatty liver disease-risks symptoms and types
The liver performs the function of digesting food, storing energy, and removing toxins from the body. It is the largest organ of the human body. When your doctor says you have fatty liver it means, your liver cells have more than 5% of fats in them.
There are two types of fatty liver disease:
1.Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
As the name suggests, this type of fatty liver is not related to the consumption of alcohol. NAFLD can be divided into two categories
a)Simple fatty liver
This means your liver cells have more than 5% of fats but it is not in inflamed condition and nor it is damaged. This is reversible with dietary control and exercise. This often doesn’t get worse.
b)NASH or Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
1 out of 5 patients with NAFLD has NASH. This is a more serious liver disease and with inflammation, the liver can have serious problems like fibrosis or cirrhosis.
2)Alcoholic fatty liver disease or ALD
Alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused due to excessive or regular drinking of alcohol. This is generally preventable if you stop drinking alcohol. But if you keep consuming alcohol, it may lead to serious liver conditions like hepatitis, cirrhosis, and even complete liver failure.
The liver has the capability to process the alcohol up to a certain capacity. In general, the liver can process approximately 30ML of alcohol in an hour. Drinking anything more than this can lead to system saturation and accumulation of alcohol in the bloodstream. It remains there till it is metabolized.
If one continues to drink despite the fatty liver, the inflammation in the liver causes fibrous tissue to increase, which checks blood supply to reach the liver cells. The blood carries oxygen and nutrients; much needed for the growth of any cells, here in this case the liver cells. In absence of oxygen and nutrition, liver cells start dying and are replaced by scar tissue. This condition is cirrhosis. Mild cirrhosis is treatable but the advanced conditions can lead to liver failure.
Symptoms of Fatty Liver
There are more than one signs and symptoms of fatty liver but sometimes you may have none. Here are some common symptoms
- Swelling in the abdomen (ascites)
- Larger than normal spleen size
- Yellow eyes
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Abnormal range of liver enzymes, including AST and ALT
- High level of triglyceride
- Bad metabolism
- Nauseating tendency
Who are at more risks of getting the fatty liver?
- Genes or you have a family history of someone affected by this disease
- Regular Alcohol consumption or tendency to binge drinking
- You are an overweight or obese person
- You have a low level of good cholesterol
- An elevated level of triglyceride
- Polycystic ovary syndrome in women
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Sleep apnea
Prevention from getting fatty liver
Abstain from Alcohol- Keeping yourself completely away from alcohol can prevent you from ALD. At least drink moderately. Avoid binge drinking; it is equally dangerous as regular drinking.
Weight Control- Always keep your body weight in proportion to your height and age. Your weight is easily manageable if you choose the right kind of diet and regular physical work.
Exercise- Walk, run, dance, play, lift weights, or choose from any other form of exercise but devise at least 5 days a week workout plan.