Fatty Liver Disease

May 3, 2022

What Is Fatty Liver Disease?

There are two main types of fatty liver disease- nonalcoholic (NAFLD) and alcoholic fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease is a condition in which fat builds up in the liver cells. This can cause liver inflammation which can in turn progress to scarring and irreversible damage. If the severity increases it can progress to liver cirrhosis and ultimately liver failure.

Is Fatty Liver Disease Life Threatening?

As described in the paragraph above, fatty liver disease can eventually lead to liver failure and then death if left untreated.

It is important to notice the signs your body is sending you and contact a TDDC gastroenterologist immediately if you are worried that you may have fatty liver disease.

What Are The Causes Of Fatty Liver Disease?

There are a few types of fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and alcoholic fatty liver disease being the main two.

The causes of the nonalcoholic conditions are not known but they are linked to obesity, insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and high levels of triglycerides in the blood.

Alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by consuming too much alcohol.

Fatty Liver Disease Symptoms

Fatty liver disease can often manifest itself in your body with no symptoms. Some of the symptoms that may appear could include:

  • Pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Fatigue
  • Enlarged liver
  • Red palms
  • Enlarged blood vessels just below the skin’s surface
  • Abdominal swelling and in the legs
  • Enlarged breasts in men
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • Feeling full in the middle or upper right side of the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite/weight loss

Fatty Liver Disease Treatments

Treatments vary depending on the type of fatty liver disease and how damaged your liver is. Often times, the liver is not at a critical state and continue functions as normal. However, if treatment is necessary, your doctor may suggest the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Hepatitis A and B vaccinations
  • Liver transplant
  • Avoid alcohol (if alcoholic fatty liver)

What Is The Difference Between Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Alcoholic Steatohepatitis?

Both Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic fatty liver (alcoholic steatohepatitis) can progress to cirrhosis and potentially liver failure. The primary difference between the two is that NAFLD is usually associated with overweight individuals and those with diabetes. Alcoholic fatty liver disease is exclusively related to high volumes of alcohol consumption.