Fatty Liver: Symptoms, Causes, Types, Diet and Treatment
Fatty liver disease, also known as hepatic steatosis, is a fairly common condition. Most people have no symptoms, and it has no serious consequences for them. However, in some cases, it can cause liver damage. Let learn more about this disease.
What is Fatty Liver?
The liver is your body’s second-largest organ. It aids in nutrient digestion, converts nutrients into energy, produces proteins for the body, and removes harmful substances from your blood. Fatty liver disease (steatosis) happens when fat builds up in the liver. A healthy liver contains a small amount of fat, but too much can become a health problem.
What are the Different Types of Fatty Liver Disease?
There are two main types of fatty liver disease:
Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (ALD)
When you drink a large amount of alcohol, the fat can build up in your liver. The liver is very resilient and capable of regenerating itself. Some liver cells die every time your liver filters alcohol. The liver can regenerate new cells, but excessive alcohol consumption over a long period of time can reduce its ability to regenerate. If you keep drinking, it can cause serious liver damage. These include enlarged liver, alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease can be avoided. It usually gets better when you stop drinking alcohol.
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when fat accumulates in the livers of people who do not consume a lot of alcohol.
There are two kinds of them:
Simple fatty liver is characterized by the presence of fat in the liver but little or no inflammation or liver cell damage. Simple fatty liver rarely progresses to the point of causing liver damage or complications.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), in which there is inflammation, liver cell damage, and fat in the liver. Fibrosis, or scarring of the liver, can result from inflammation and liver cell damage. Cirrhosis or liver cancer can result from NASH.
Fatty Liver Disease Symptoms and Signs
There are usually no symptoms of ALD or NAFLD. Some people may experience symptoms such as fatigue or pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, where the liver is located.
You may experience the following symptoms if you have NASH or cirrhosis:
- Swollen stomach
- Larger-than-normal breasts in men due to enlarged blood vessels beneath the skin
- Palms that are red
- Skin and eyes that appear yellowish as a result of a condition known as jaundice
- Extreme tiredness or mental confusion.
Causes and Risk Factors
A high level of alcohol consumption
Alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by excessive drinking, the highest risk factor for the condition is excessive alcohol consumption. The more alcohol you consume, the more damage you do to your liver. The earliest stage of alcohol-related liver disease is alcoholic fatty liver disease. Cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis are the next stages.
Eating excess calories
Too many calories cause fat to build up in the liver. People with certain other conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, or high triglycerides, are more likely to develop fatty liver.
According to a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, specific genes may increase a person’s chances of developing NAFLD by up to 27 percent.
Other medical conditions
Other medical conditions can increase the likelihood of developing NAFLD. These are included:
- High blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome are all medical conditions and characteristics associated with obesity.
- Insulin resistance
- Rapid weight loss
- Get certain infections, such as hepatitis C
- Have been exposed to some toxins
How to Reverse Fatty Liver Disease
The liver has an amazing ability to repair itself. it’s possible to reduce liver fat and inflammation and reverse early liver damage. There are no medicines that have been approved to treat NAFLD according to Harvard Health, but making healthy lifestyle choices can help. There are some ways you can try:
Limit your drinking
If you are an alcoholic, you need to quit drinking. It’s the only way to keep liver damage from worsening. You might even be able to reverse some of the liver damage that has already occurred. If you need help doing that, you may want to see a therapist or participate in an alcohol recovery program.
Doctors recommend weight loss for nonalcoholic fatty liver. Weight loss can reduce fat in the liver, inflammation, and fibrosis. Lose weight slowly but steadily because rapid weight loss can actually make fatty liver disease worse.
Exercising is an effective way to lose weight, try to be active at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week.
Eat a healthy diet
Limiting salt and sugar, plus eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Here are some specific foods that may be especially helpful for people with fatty liver disease:
According to a 2016 study published in Advanced Biomedical Research, garlic powder supplements appeared to help reduce body weight and body fat mass in people with NAFLD.
Omega-3 fatty acids
According to a 2016 review of current research, omega-3 fatty acid consumption may improve liver fat and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in people with NAFLD.
The following foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids: salmon, sardines, walnuts, flaxseed.
According to some studies, patients with NAFLD who drank coffee (about two cups per day) had a lower risk of fibrosis. However, keep in mind the drawbacks of consuming caffeine on a regular basis.
People with fatty liver disease benefit from eating a variety of whole vegetables, and broccoli is one vegetable that they should seriously consider including in their diet.
Green tea contains antioxidants such as catechin. According to research, these antioxidants may aid in the treatment of fatty liver disease symptoms.
Soy protein contains antioxidants known as isoflavones, which help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce body fat.
How to Prevent Fatty liver
Talk with your doctor before using dietary supplements
Before using dietary supplements, such as vitamins, or any complementary or alternative medicines or medical practices, consult with your doctor. Some herbal remedies can be harmful to your liver.
Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, influenza, and pneumococcal disease. If you have hepatitis A or B in addition to fatty liver, you are more likely to develop liver failure.
Keep a healthy weight
Reduce your daily calorie intake and increase your physical activity if you are overweight or obese. If you have a healthy weight, work to keep it that way by eating well and exercising regularly.
Choose a healthy diet
Choose a plant-based diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and don’t drink too much alcohol.
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Reference: Cleveland clinic: Fatty liver disease; Harvard Health Publishing: Fatty liver disease: What you need to know; US National Libary of Medicine National Institutes of Health; Medical News Today