What is fatty liver disease? It’s one of the many complicated liver diseases, and one that is more difficult to diagnose than many others. This disease can be brought on by alcohol, drugs and a variety of lifestyle choices. It can also be caused by certain types of foods, so it is necessary to keep a close watch on your diet. If you suspect that you have a fatty liver disease then you should consult your doctor or a nutritionist for more information. There are a number of ways to diagnosis this disease and they include performing a complete blood count, serum chemistry test and a fatty liver enzyme test.
Fatty liver disease is a condition in which there is an overproduction of fats within the liver cells, and there is also inflammation. There are no symptoms when these conditions are present, and unless something drastic occurs they will disappear within a few weeks. At this point the disease is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). If the condition is present for a long time without improvement, it is then classified as fatty liver disease. The symptoms include abdominal pain, jaundice, rapid weight loss, abdominal bloating, stiffness of the legs and joints, nausea and vomiting.
One of the first things that you should do if you think that you have fatty liver disease is to have a complete blood count and perform an alcohol panel. If you have a milder form of this condition known as steatohepatitis then a complete blood count might not reveal any abnormalities. A blood panel that detects only alcohol should be performed. Nashes are common but are usually a sign that you are having a simple fatty liver disease. They are small and watery, somewhat like a whitehead.
Fatty liver failure symptoms include loss of weight, appetite loss, fever, loss of energy, joint aches, vomiting and pain. These symptoms are milder versions of those of alcoholic hepatitis. Another severe condition is cirrhosis of the liver, which can lead to cancer of the lymph nodes, gallbladder, pancreas, and liver. When this disease progresses to cancer of the liver, it is referred to as cirrhosis of the common bile duct. Other forms of fatty liver disease include hepatitis B and C and autoimmune hepatitis.
Your doctor will likely want you to undergo one or more liver function tests in order to confirm the diagnosis. These include blood tests that will look at how well your liver is processing sugar, protein, and fat. The results will also reveal any inflammation in the liver. If you have been diagnosed with fatty liver disease there are treatments available including surgery, chemotherapy, special diets, and non-drug therapies.
In most cases surgery is not needed, but in some instances doctors may perform tests in order to detect you don’t have enough fatty liver to properly process fats. During surgery fat cells are removed from the liver. Sometimes a temporary partial loss of function of the liver is seen. Non-surgical treatments include management of your diet and weight loss. Blood tests are often performed to determine how much liver scarring you have and to see if you need medication to treat it. It is possible that more than one form of medication will be needed to manage your condition.
Fatty liver is usually a symptom of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Steatohepatitis is inflammation of the fatty tissue in your liver. If you have nonalcoholic steatohepatitis you will have more fatty tissue in your liver. Treatment for this form of cirrhosis involves removing excess fat and treating the liver inflammation. In order to do this surgery is often required.
You doctor may need to run blood tests to check for levels of specific liver enzymes. There are several enzyme supplements that can be used to help you improve your blood flow and remove fat from the body. If NASH is present, your doctor may suggest that you take medications that will prevent the accumulation of fatty liver disease. This can help you prevent damage to your liver or it can slow the progression of the disease so that it does not become too serious.