FATTY LIVER

07 May
Fatty liver means the accumulation of fat in the liver cells. Fatty liver (steatosis) may be associated with or may lead to inflammation of the liver (steatohepatits, NASH). This can cause scarring and hardening of the liver. When scarring becomes severe, it is called cirrhosis, and this is a serious condition.

The Liver

The liver is the largest organ in the body. It is found in the right upper abdomen, behind the ribs. It is a vital organ with many functions: 
• Storing energy in the form of sugar (glucose) 
• Storing vitamins, iron, and other minerals 
• Making proteins, including blood clotting factors, to keep the body healthy and help it grow 
• Making bile which is needed for food digestion 
• Metabolizing or breaking down many medications and alcohol

fattyliver pic

fattyliver pic 02

Cause

It is known that fat accumulates in the liver in a number of conditions. The most common is obesity. Fatty liver is also associated with diabetes mellitus, high blood triglycerides, and the heavy use of alcohol. It may occur with certain illnesses such as tuberculosis and malnutrition, bypass surgery for obesity, or the use of certain drugs. Sometimes fatty liver may occur as a complication of pregnancy.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

There are usually no symptoms that are noticeable to the patient and fatty liver is often discovered during the routine health screening. There may be a rise in certain liver enzymes found in the blood test, and sometimes the liver may be slightly enlarged during the physical examination. An ultrasound of the abdomen will show fat in the liver. Fibroscan or liver biopsy may be recommended to evaluate the extent of the liver damage or liver fibrosis.

What is Steatohepatitis?

The term hepatitis means inflammation of the liver and steato- refers to fat. Therefore, steatohepatitis is inflammation of the liver related to fat accumulation. This condition may be a result of heavy alcohol use but it may also occur in people who seldom or never drink alcohol. In this instance, it is often called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH. Steatohepatitis can lead to serious liver damage and liver cirrhosis.

Treatment

In most instances, treatment of fatty liver and steatohepatitis requires control of the underlying conditions. This may include reduction of high blood triglycerides, good control of diabetes, and stop drinking alcohol and weight reduction.
Since being overweight is by far the most critical factor, weight loss is the key to ridding the liver of fat. This is especially necessary if damage to the liver is occurring, and early signs of scarring are present on biopsy. High blood triglycerides and diabetes are also worse with obesity.

Dr. Andrea

Dr. Andrea Rajnakova is our Consultant Gastroenterologist and Physician.

www.andrea-digestive-clinic.com/index.php/about/dr-andrea

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