What is Fatty Liver?
Excess deposition of fat in the liver cells is known as fatty liver. Although it causes no or little damage by itself, it can be a sign of a more harmful condition. Fatty liver may be associated with or lead to inflammation of the liver, known as steatohepatitis, which can cause scarring and hardening of the liver. Extensive scarring is called cirrhosis, and is considered a very serious condition.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fatty Liver
1What causes fatty liver?
Liver plays a major role in fat breakdown. Malfunctions in this process or when conditions such as diabetes mellitus, high blood triglycerides, central obesity or heavy alcohol use are present, fat can accumulate in liver. The accumulation can also be caused by tuberculosis and malnutrition, excess vitamin A or use of certain drugs, such as valproic acids or corticosteroids. Pregnancy can also cause fatty build up.
2How do I know if I have fatty liver?
Usually there are no symptoms of fatty liver. In fact, fatty liver is frequently uncovered during a routine physical examination or while your physician is evaluating you for other illnesses.
3How is fatty liver diagnosed?
Usually diagnosed clinically, or by ultrasound, fibroscan or CT/MR scan. To be certain of a diagnosis of fatty liver the physician may recommend a liver biopsy during which a small piece of liver tissue is removed with the needle and examined under a microscope. The biopsy may be needed when steatohepatitis is suspected to confirm the diagnosis, to see the sevierity of inflamation and rule out other possibilities.
4What are the complications from fatty liver?
Steatohepatitis, the inflammation of the liver due to fat accumulation, is one possible complication and signals serious liver damage. It occurs frequently in people who are significantly overweight or have experienced rapid weight loss.
5What is the treatment for fatty liver and steatohepatitis?
Mainstay is the treatment of underlying disorder like control of high blood triglycerides, controlling diabetes or eliminating the use of alcohol. In some cases, surgical reversal of intestinal bypass for obesity is required. If a patient is overweight, weight loss and weight control are key to successful treatment. Certain drugs may reduce liver damage in cases of steatohepatitis.In some chronic cases involving severe liver damage (cirrhosis), a liver transplant may be considered.