How to know whether you have fatty liver disease
Fatty liver disease or steatohepatitis, is a serious condition that many times can go undetected, due to a lack of clearly identifiable symptoms. It's closely related to an increase in obesity at a global level, poor diet and destructive habits, that result in fatty liver and can lead to serious health complications. A OneHowTo.com we'll explain more about this condition and provide some indications to help you identify if you have fatty liver disease.
The liver fulfils important functions in the body, and is responsible for regulating the metabolism of fats, producing proteins and cholesterol, secreting bile, clearing the blood of toxins and regulating the levels of amino acids in the blood, among others. Therefore, it's crucial that it works properly.
But when fat accumulates in the liver cells, this produces what's called steatosis or fatty liver disease.
This disease can be caused by different factors, the most common being:
- Excessive consumption of fatty foods can lead to the liver metabolizing incorrectly, resulting in an accumulation of fat.
- A fatty liver is often a common symptom of obesity. Therefore, people who are overweight are significantly more at risk.
- A fatty liver can also be due to health conditions like high cholesterol, elevated triglycerides or hypertension. Therefore, people with these conditions must be frequently monitored to check liver health and function.
- People who suffer from hyperinsulinism, due to their resistance to insulin, have a strong tendency to develop fatty liver disease.
- Those who drink alcohol to excess, are also prone to it.
- A genetic predisposition can also have an influence on the possibility of developing fatty liver. Recent research has shown that variations in the GCKR and PNPLA3 genes, could make a person more susceptible to steatohepatitis.
Fatty liver, unfortunately, often doesn't present symptoms, and is thus known as a silent threat that can greatly affect your health. This disease can advance without the proper care and treatment, resulting in liver inflammation, fibrosis and the most dangerous being, cirrhosis of the liver.
One of the only physical symptoms of fatty liver disease experienced by some patients, is pain in the top right of the abdomen, although the reality is, not everyone with fatty liver disease has this symptom. Other symptoms include chronic fatigue, a sense of heaviness after eating and general malaise.
The best way to know if you have a fatty liver is to get tested. If you have one or more of the risk factors that could lead to having a fatty liver such as being obese, eating a diet high in fat, having hyperinsulinism, elevated triglycerides, high cholesterol or high blood pressure or suffer from alcoholism, among other conditions. Thus, it's important to undergo annual medical tests to rule out the possibility of having fatty liver disease.
A complete blood panel will indicate the possibility of fatty liver, according to the transaminase values. To confirm the diagnosis, your physician may request an ultrasound of your liver and/or a liver biopsy.
It's recommended that an annual, full blood panel is done for those with a higher risk of having fatty liver disease, as well as those with heart problems and diseases such as diabetes.
The best way to keep a healthy liver is by living a healthy lifestyle. That being said, if you wish to give your liver a 'cleanse', read our article on how to make juices to cleanse the liver.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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