What Is Fatty Liver Disease?
All livers contain a certain amount of fat. However, if fat contributes more than 5-10 percent of the organ, you may have fatty liver disease. Alcohol abuse is one of the primary causes of fatty liver disease. Other causes of fatty liver disease include hepatitis C, too much iron, and obesity. Fatty liver disease can occur in non-drinkers as well and is more common in those who are overweight or obese and those who have high cholesterol or diabetes. Certain medications, malnutrition, viral hepatitis, and autoimmune or inherited liver disease can also cause fatty liver disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease?
Like many diseases, fatty liver disease doesn’t present symptoms in its early stages. A person may have fatty liver disease for years without even knowing it. Some symptoms eventually develop including loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, weakness, nausea, confusion, an enlarged liver, pain in the upper right or center part of your abdomen, or dark patches of skin under your arms or on your neck. If you doctor thinks you might have fatty liver disease he may order blood work, ultrasound tests, or a biopsy of your liver.
How Is Fatty Liver Disease Treated?
There is no specific treatment for fatty liver disease. However, if you have a condition like diabetes or high cholesterol that is causing the issue, you can manage your other diseases and conditions to control your fatty liver disease. If you drink, you should stop as alcohol can aggravate the liver and make your symptoms worse or it could lead to further complications like cirrhosis or alcoholic hepatitis. Managing your weight and reducing your overall body fat can help to reduce the fat in your liver. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit, and water and getting regular exercise can also help to improve your overall health as well as the condition of your liver.