Cirrhosis Of The Liver

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Fatty liver or fatty liver disease is a liver condition or liver disease in which large fat deposits accumulate in the liver. Fatty liver seldom has symptoms (although occasionally it does). It is itself a symptom of many different liver diseases, and in severe cases can be a problem in itself. It's a chronic condition of the liver having various causes.


In most cases it is reversible by changing the factor that is causing the condition. Like most liver problems, it can result from alcoholism or alcohol abuse; it can also result from obesity, diabetes, and any illness resulting in abnormal retention of lipids by the cells.

Symptoms

 
Ordinarily there are no symptoms of
fatty liver disease. Once in a great while, a patient will experience chronic pain in the torso near the location of the liver (upper-right quadrant). Sometimes, too, fatty liver results in chronic fatigue and weakness, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Usually the appearance of symptoms indicates a more serious condition. The symptoms may not result directly from the fatty liver, but may be a sign of general liver dysfunction resulting from the same cause as the fatty liver.

Normally, however, the disease has no symptoms. Instead, it is diagnosed from blood tests or medical imaging undertaken for some other reason. Blood tests can show
elevated liver enzymes, which are a sign of liver problems, including fatty liver. Medical scanning using methods such as an ultrasound or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) can reveal the presence of fat deposits in the liver directly.


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The discovery of fatty liver is followed by efforts to determine what is causing it, as that will determine the preferred treatment; patients are surveyed as to the amount of alcohol intake, diet, exercise, infectious diseases, and other conditions capable of causing fatty liver.

Treatment

 
Just as there are normally no symptoms of fatty liver per se, so there is no treatment for fatty liver itself. Instead, treatment focuses on the underlying cause. If fatty liver results from excessive alcohol consumption, treatment consists of reducing or eliminating alcohol. If it has another cause, such as obesity or diabetes, a different treatment appropriate to that condition is undertaken.

Whatever the cause of fatty liver, it's a good idea to address it because of an uncommon complication, a form of cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma. This cancer develops in an estimated ten percent of patients with alcoholic fatty liver, and is also associated with non-alcohol-related fatty liver although not to the same degree. In addition, most if not all of the potential causes of fatty liver have other serious health complications, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease. (Whether fatty liver itself carries this risk or not is hard to determine, as it is a known risk factor of alcohol abuse, obesity, and diabetes anyway.)

Fatty liver, in addition to being a liver disease in its own right, is an early symptom or indicator of very serious liver conditions such as fibrosis or cirrhosis. For that reason, fatty liver should be monitored closely even though it is not especially dangerous in itself; later stages of these more serious diseases can be life-threatening and may even require a liver transplant.

Diet


One of the most common prescriptions for treating fatty liver is a change in diet. This may be as simple as cutting out alcohol, or it may aim at reducing weight or treating blood sugar imbalances. When weight loss is the goal, physicians recommend losing weight gradually rather than rapidly. Whatever the cause, fatty liver is almost always a reversible condition that a change in lifestyle of one kind or another can send into remission.

Fatty Liver Symptoms

Fatty Liver Disease Explained in 69 Seconds