Fatty liver is also known as steatosis hepatis or steatorrhoeic hepatosis.
Accumulation of fat (triglycerides) in the liver cells (hepatocytes) results in fatty liver.
A person who is obese and consumes alcohol develops a condition called Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD) and Alcoholic Fatty Liver (AFL). Where who do not consume alcohol develops Non Alcoholic Liver Disease (NALD).
The liver is the largest gland in the body. It has three surfaces (superior, inferior and posterior) and two lobes (right and left).It is situated in the upper and right parts of the abdominal cavity, occupying almost the whole of the right hypochondrium. In the male it weighs from 1.4 to 1.6 kg., in the female from 1.2 to 1.4 kg. It is relatively much larger in the fetus than in the adult.
Non Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) is the accumulation of fat with inflammation and scarring of the liver. Long standing inflammation of fatty liver causes irreversible scarring of the liver, this condition is called liver cirrhosis.
Clinical symptoms of NALD and NASH are different from ALD, but histological picture of NALD and NASH are same as ALD.
Mortality of Fatty Liver
The condition is reversible. Early diagnosis and treatment proves beneficial. But it may progress to cirrhosis and proves fatal.
Exact cause of fatty liver is not known. Fatty liver is a condition in which liver loses its capacity to eliminate fats that gets accumulated in it.
Some of the causes of the fatty liver are as follows:
Apart from alcohol other conditions that are responsible for fatty liver are:
• Hypertension (High blood pressure).
• Type 2 Diabetes.
• Celiac disease.
• Hepatitis B and C.
• High blood cholesterol.
• Wilson’s disease.
• Weber-Christian disease affecting nutrient absorption.
• Rapid weight loss.
Certain medications such as corticosteroids, sedatives, anti-epileptic drugs and amiodarone injection in cardiovascular diseases cause fatty liver.
Mild fatty liver is usually asymptomatic. However mild symptoms may be experienced by some people, such as:
• Fatigue with little exertion.
• Right upper part of abdomen feels heavy.
• Sometimes pressure over liver region causes pain.
If a fatty liver is left untreated it results in cirrhosis and ultimately liver failure occurs.
Symptoms of liver failure are:
• Nausea and vomiting.
• Loss of appetite.
• Intense fatigue.
• Weight loss.
• Ascites (due to accumulation of fluid in the abdomen).
• Distension of veins in legs, abdomen.
• Delayed clotting of blood.
• Mental confusion (hepatic encephalopathy).
• Loss of libido.
• Fine to moderate tremors of the fingers.
Following tests will help in the diagnosis of fatty liver:
• Liver Function Tests (LFTs).
• Computed Tomography (CT) Scan.
• Liver biopsy.
• Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
• Wilson disease.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of fatty liver.
The condition is reversible; prognosis is good with early treatment. If the condition progresses to cirrhosis it causes mortality.
• Liver cirrhosis
• Liver cancer (Hepatocellular carcinoma)
• It is indicated when there is a clinical history of hyperaemia of the liver, which is enlarged, tender.
• The stools are of light color.
• Complaints from over eating.
• Digestion is disturbed.
• Thick white coating on the tongue. The bowels are alternately constipated, and diarrheic, with a constant discharge of flatus both up and down.
• Pain and tenderness in the region of liver, at the lower angle of right scapula.
• The skin presents a yellowish-gray color.
• The stools may be either soft and of a bright yellow color, or they are light colored and constipated.
• The patient is irritable, sensitive, and peevish.
• exhaustion from the least exertion
• Tendency to anasarca.
• Liver-sore, enlarged, jaundice and constipation.
• Jaundice occurring every summer, caused by drinking too much cider (vinegar)
• Jaundice with arrested of menses.
• Jaundice arises from cardiac diseases.
• Jaundice with pulse irregular and intermittent with rapid prostration of the strength.
• Drowsiness with bitter taste of mouth.
• Soreness enlargement and bruised feeling in the region of the liver.
• Early detection and treatment for underlying cause.
• Regular exercise to reduce weight.
• Avoid consumption of saturated fats in diet.
• Avoiding certain drugs, alcohol, junk foods etc.
• Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
• Whole grains as they are a rich source of minerals, vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.
• Food containing omega-3 fatty acids.
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