Steatosis or fatty liver is a condition that is characterized by the build-up of fat in the liver. Although it is normal to have some fat in your liver when the fat content exceeds 5-10% of the liver weight, it is known as fatty liver. This condition is reversible and could be reversed with a change of lifestyle.
Are There Symptoms?
The condition doesn’t have any notable symptoms and doesn’t cause permanent damage to the liver. The main function of the liver is to process all things that we eat and drink and filter all harmful toxins from the blood.
This process becomes ineffective when there is too much fat in the liver. That is why it is essential that you prevent the building up of fat in the liver.
This article provides information on how to prevent fatty liver disease.
The liver would commonly repair itself when the old cells are damaged. But when there is repeated damage to the liver cells, permanent scarring can take place.
This condition is known as cirrhosis. Fatty liver is a common condition in the United States. In fact, more than 10-20% of individuals in the country suffer from this condition.
Most of the other people have fat in their liver without any inflammation or damage present. Most cases of fatty liver disease affect people between the ages of 40 and 60 years.
When the condition prevails for some time, it could be dangerous to the overall health of the individual. That is why it is essential that you diagnose and treat the condition early on.
Watch for Stomach Pain & Fatigue
Although fatty liver doesn’t have notable symptoms, the patient may experience abdominal discomfort and fatigue most of the time.
The liver of such a patient can become slightly enlarged, and the doctor may discover it during a physical examination.
Excess fat in the liver can cause liver inflammation which can result in poor appetite, abdominal pain, weight loss, confusion, and weakness.
Lay Off the Sauce
The most common cause for the condition is heavy drinking or alcoholism. But there are people who are not alcoholics also who are suffering from this condition.
The real cause of fatty liver in non-alcoholics is not known yet. It happens when the body creates too much fat or can’t metabolize the fat fast.
This excess fat is stored in the liver cells which results in fatty liver disease after some time.
Turns out, eating a high-fat diet is not directly linked to the disease.
Alternatives to Drinking
For the most part, light occasional drinking is going to be OK, but if you’re a heavy drinker, then you may want to find alternatives, and at the very least cut back on the amount you’re drinking every day.
Before you cut back on your drinking, though, consult with your doctor so make sure you’re not going to put yourself at risk for alcohol withdrawals.
For some serious drinkers these withdrawal systems can be bad enough to put people in the hospital, and have even resulted in death for some people.
Because of this, you want to take all of the precautions necessary to make sure you don’t cause yourself any more problems.
Once you’ve cleared things with your doctor, though, there are plenty of other things you can drink instead of alcohol.
When I’ve cut back in the past, here are just a few things that helped satisfy my cravings:
- Sparkling Water
- Regular Water
- Soda -Obviously want to limit this
- Other Sugar-Free Drinks
If you find that you’re having a really tough time, there are groups out there like AA or counselors who can help you too, so seek out help if you need it!
Other Risk Factors
There are some risk factors for the disease such as obesity, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, rapid weight loss, certain medications, and genetic conditions.
4 Different Types of Fatty Liver
There are four types of fatty liver conditions. Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) happens when the liver finds it difficult to break down fats.
This causes fat to build up in the liver tissue. This condition is diagnosed when there is over 10% of fat in the liver. Alcoholic fatty liver is easy to detect.
Heavy drinking will damage the liver, and it will not be able to break down fat as a result. Stopping drinking will cause the liver to repair the damage.
With about six weeks of not drinking, the fat will disappear from the liver. But if excessive drinking continues, the patient may end up with cirrhosis.
Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) is the third variety of the condition. When the fat builds up, the liver will swell. If the original cause is not alcohol, it may result in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
This condition can impair most of the liver functions as a result. Some symptoms of this condition include appetite loss, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and yellowing of the skin. When not treated early on, NASH can progress to scarring of the liver and liver failure.
The fourth type is called acute fatty liver of pregnancy. This is a rare condition associated with pregnancy and could be life-threatening.
Some of the major symptoms include vomiting, persistent nausea, general malaise, and yellowing of the skin.
Can You Treat it?
There is no effective medication, treatment or surgical procedure to cure fatty liver. Your health care provider will advise reducing the risk factors of the condition.
You should limit or stop drinking alcoholic beverages, limit your cholesterol intake, control the blood sugar, and lose weight effectively.
Prevention is Key
Protecting the liver is one of the most effective methods of preventing the condition altogether. You should have alcoholic beverages in moderation if you choose to do so.
Moderate alcohol consumption is defined by the CDC as two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. You should control the diabetic and cholesterol condition by following the doctor’s advice.
You should aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day in order to maintain a healthy weight in the process.