The liver is the largest organ of the human body and is located in the upper part of the abdomen. On an average, the human liver weighs 1.35 to 1.59 kg, which is 2% of the human body weight. The liver is also the largest gland in the human body.
The liver plays an important role in maintaining the overall health of the human body. It is known to perform more than 200 functions, but its main functions are to flush out toxins from the body, process nutrients from food, break down fats, and detoxify the blood. All blood going to the stomach and intestines is filtered through the liver before going anywhere else in the body.
When the liver does not perform properly, the human body is more likely to have health problems, and one of them is fatty liver. Fatty liver disease occurs when the liver does not process and break down fat normally. This blog will explain fatty liver disease in more detail, including symptoms, causes, prevention, and fatty liver treatment.
What Is Fatty Liver Disease?
Fatty liver is a disease that occurs when too much fat accumulates in your liver. This disease is also known as hepatic steatosis. Having a small amount of fat in your liver is not a problem, but when fat reaches 5% to 10% of your liver's weight, it becomes a serious problem.
Too much fat accumulating in your liver can cause liver inflammation, which can damage your liver and create scarring. The scarring can cause liver damage and even death.
Symptoms Of Fatty Liver Disease
A person suffering from fatty liver disease often does not experience any symptoms until the disease progresses to cirrhosis of the liver. People who have fatty liver disease may have the following symptoms:
- Feeling an acute pain in the upper right part of the abdomen.
- Extremely tired, unwell, and in mental confusion
- Yellowish eyes and skin. (Jaundice)
- Itchiness on the skin
- unexplained weight loss
- Swollen belly and legs (Edema)
- Red palms
Note: Consult with your doctor if you have any of the above-mentioned fatty liver disease symptoms.
Causes Of Fatty Liver Disease
There are several health conditions that can cause fatty liver disease, but fatty liver disease has been reported in some people without any pre-existing conditions.
Here are the most common causes of fatty liver:
- Being overweight/Obesity
- Having type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance
- Having high blood pressure or high triglycerides
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Certain medicines, such as cordarone, diltiazem, tamoxifen, or steroids
- Family history of fatty disease.
Two Types Of Fatty Liver Diasease
There are mainly two types of fatty liver disease:
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD)
- Non-alcohol fatty liver disease (NFLD)
What is alcohol-fatty liver disease (AFLD)?
Alcohol fatty liver disease (AFLD) is a type of fatty liver disease that develops in people who drink too much alcohol.
There are three main types of AFLD:
- Alcoholic fatty liver (AFL)
- Alcoholic hepatitis (AH)
- Alcoholic cirrhosis (AC)
Alcoholic fatty liver: This is the first stage of AFLD and leads to alcohol-related liver disease. Where excess fat gets accumulated in your liver cells and damages your liver. The liver's job is to break down alcohol, but if someone drinks more than it can handle, it can be badly damaged.
Alcoholic hepatitis: is a more serious stage when excess fat accumulates in the liver due to inflammation and liver cell damage.
Alcoholic cirrhosis: If left untreated, it leads to the third and final stage, called alcoholic cirrhosis. Excessive consumption of alcohol causes liver fibrosis, which leads to liver failure.
What is Non-Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?
Non-alcohol Fatty liver disease is a type 2 fatty liver disease, a condition in which excess fat accumulates in the liver of people who do not even drink alcohol.
There are two main types of NAFLD:
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL)
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
NAFL: This is the early stage of NAFLD, in which fat builds up in the liver but in very small amounts and does not cause any damage to the liver. NAFL causes pain due to the enlargement of the liver.
NASH: A more severe stage in which the liver becomes inflamed and damaged. This inflammation and liver damage can lead to fibrosis and cirrhosis.
Avoid some non-alcohol fatty liver medicine if you are suffering from NFLD, as it can have a negative effect on your liver and worsen your condition. It is better to consult your doctor before starting any medicine.
How Can Fat Liver Disease Be Prevented?
The best way to prevent fatty liver disease is to do things that maintain overall health, such as:
- Eating a healthy diet that includes more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Limit how much fat you eat.
- Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar.
- Avoid heavy alcohol use.
- Quit smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Increase physical activity.
- Control your diabetes.
How Can You Treat Fatty Liver Disease?
There is no specific medicine to treat fatty liver disease. Liver management involves making lifestyle changes that can improve overall health.
- Take medicine to manage diabetes and cholesterol.
- Lose weight
- Avoid alcohol
- Take ayurvedic medicine for fatty liver.
- Ayurvedic herbs such as milk thistle, kutki, and bhumi amalaki
Fatty liver disease is the disease that occurs when excess fat gets accumulated in your liver and is caused by excessive consumption of alcohol, which is known as alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD).
When fatty liver disease occurs in someone who does not drink alcohol, it is known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
People often do not experience significant symptoms of fatty liver in the early stages until it reaches a severe stage and damage occurs.
Treatment of fatty liver disease involves making significant lifestyle changes, as no definitive drug has yet come onto the market to treat fatty liver disease. If detected early, it is possible to reverse the damage caused by fatty liver.