Fatty Liver symptoms are very specific and can only be accurately diagnosed through a medical assessment. If a fatty liver is suspected, then medical treatment should be sought. There are two types of fatty liver: steatosis or fatty livers and steatohepatitis or fatty liver disease. The first one is only mild and curable, whereas the latter is extremely dangerous and requires liver transplantation. Both types of fatty liver have symptoms and are different from each other. Steatosis is more common than the other.
People who are significantly overweight, obese, with diabetes or with metabolic syndrome are highly likely to develop NASH as well. Fatty liver disease is also becoming more widespread in the United States. The condition shows up in adolescence or early adulthood and usually lasts for about 10 years. About two-thirds of those affected by fatty liver do not develop any serious complications, although there are cases where it may lead to liver cancer or cirrhosis. Fatty liver disease is also one of the major causes of cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Symptoms of fatty liver symptoms in patients who show only a few symptoms may be confused with the common flu or cold. Some signs and symptoms include abdominal swelling, jaundice, and a yellow discoloration of skin or eyes. Since this disease is frequently caused by accumulation of fats and cholesterol in liver cells, doctors usually order blood tests to determine the level of fatty liver and to find out whether the condition is progressive or not. The doctor may also ask for imaging tests such as ultrasound to make sure that the disease is not progressing.
One of the most serious symptoms of fatty liver disease is liver cancer, which accounts for most cases of death related to the disease. If you have had previous attacks of liver cancer, then you have a greater chance of developing it again even though the symptoms may seem like jaundice or a simple case of hepatitis. Although some cases of liver cancer are still mysterious, most doctors are aware that the disease progresses through different stages. The first stage is where the liver is still functioning properly, while later stages are characterized by more scarring and damage.
A similar disease to fatty liver is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In general, people with a high intake of alcoholic beverages are at higher risk for this condition. Unlike fatty liver, people with NASH have no significant fatty buildup in their livers. Nausea, fatigue, weight loss, and joint pain are common symptoms of NASH, which can be mistaken for a common cold or flu. Because of its resemblance to other diseases, people with NASH often seek treatment for diabetes and insulin resistance.
Fatty liver disease and obesity are usually diagnosed based on symptoms. Patients suffering from either of these conditions are evaluated thoroughly and treated according to their symptoms. According to Dr. David Williams, “When someone with diabetes and/or insulin resistance develops symptoms of fatty liver, the usual approach is to treat those conditions.” However, those with symptoms of NASH do not respond to the same treatments as those with diabetes and insulin resistance. In addition, people with NASH have been reported to experience some side effects such as nausea and fatigue.
Another problem linked with fatty liver is scarring. If the liver inflammation develops into cirrhosis – a condition that requires hospitalization and significant medical treatment – then the patient will also need a liver transplant. Even if the scarring is less than 5mm, scarring can prevent the body’s normal production of cholesterol and fatty acids. This can lead to a serious heart ailment, so if you think you have a fatty liver, it is best to consult your doctor right away.
There are several other fatty liver disease symptoms. According to the Journal of Internal Medicine, one of them is abnormal blood clotting (blood clots). Blood clots are caused by fatty liver disease when the body produces more cytokines that help in stopping blood flow. Doctors can diagnose elevated blood cholesterol, fatty liver and high levels of triglycerides by looking at certain patterns in your blood. Doctors may also check for abnormalities in the digestive system and kidneys by looking at tests such as stomach, duodenum, jejunum and ileum biopsies. Doctors can also check for abnormalities in liver enzymes, amylase (galactose) and lipase (lipase is essential for breaking down fats in food).