One of the biggest questions that health care providers and patients ask is about liver disease. A healthy liver can be the key to life; without it, you are susceptible to many serious health problems. Liver disease is divided into two broad categories: fatty liver and steatosis (or fatty liver disease). It is important that you know the difference between these two before you start treatment for your condition.
Fatty liver disease or NAFLD occurs when fat accumulates in liver cells, eventually blocking the cells from functioning properly. Often, steatosis (or simply fatty liver) is not a symptom but has been present for years without exhibiting any noticeable symptoms. Steatosis is the accumulation of fat in arteries, tissues, and organs of the body. Because fatty liver is usually caused by a poor lifestyle and unhealthy diet, a change in lifestyle may help you avoid this disease. A change in diet, coupled with regular exercise, may help to reduce fatty liver and help it become silent.
Steatosis is a more serious condition than NAFLD; it means that there is already scarring in the liver. It can also occur as a result of previous liver disease or alcohol abuse. This condition may be more likely to develop in someone who drinks heavily or who lives a stressful lifestyle. Because alcohol increases the level of toxins in the body, the possibility of developing steatosis is higher for people who drink heavily and also those who live in an unhealthy environment. If you have steatosis, your doctor may advise you to lose weight and quit smoking because these conditions make the symptoms of steatosis worse.
People who use drugs (including illegal drugs) are at greater risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and diabetes. Alcohol use can cause damage to the cells of the liver and nonalcoholic are at a greater risk of developing cancer of the liver. People who use drugs regularly, even prescription drugs, are at a higher risk of developing cirrhosis. Drug abuse also increases the risk of developing autoimmune diseases, which are diseases that begin outside the body and that attack the healthy tissue.
Alcohol use can also cause genetic defects and the most severe cases of alcoholic fatty liver disease often have genetic abnormalities. Alcohol use can damage the cells of the liver and these damaged cells can produce antibodies to attack other healthy tissues. This process leads to alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD. The condition can progress to carcinoma when the damaged liver cells spread throughout the body. Since almost all alcohol users have some amount of autoantibodies (antibody cells that attack other body cells), the risk of developing NAFLD is greatly increased if you use alcohol regularly.
Another common condition that develops after long-term use of alcohol is simple fatty liver. This condition is characterized by no serious symptoms or damage to the liver. However, over time, simple fatty liver can damage liver cells to the point where they cannot function properly. This can lead to accumulation of fat in the liver, which can cause pain, fever, and jaundice. In more severe cases of simple fatty liver, damage to the liver cells can result in cirrhosis, a serious medical condition that requires hospitalization.
One of the most common symptoms of liver failure symptoms is jaundice, which is an excessive build up of yellowish or brown blood cells in the blood. Some people may experience symptoms of jaundice that do not seem directly related to the liver disease such as unexplained weight loss, nausea, or diarrhea. People who have jaundice tend to vomit frequently and may also suffer from severe constipation. Weight loss is another symptom of jaundice, as it causes the body to produce more red blood cells, which can make you feel tired and weak.
One of the primary symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis is jaundice. When someone has hepatitis, the body produces excessively colored urine, which can range in color from light yellow to dark orange. Jaundice symptoms usually last for about two to three months, and the person will need to visit his doctor to receive treatment. Another indicator of liver disease is the presence of an enlarged liver, either yellow or orange in appearance. A small fibroid can form inside the liver, which can be removed with a surgical procedure.