Fatty liver disease, sometimes referred to as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is a condition characterised by fat deposits in the liver. This building-up of fats eventually leads to inflammation and scarring, and affects the overall functioning of the liver. The condition is especially dangerous because it does not really show any symptoms during the initial stages and a lot of people who suffer from it do not even know they have it.
Fat gets into the liver from a person’s diet. The food we consume is metabolized by the liver and other tissues. When the amount of fat exceeds the body’s requirement, it is stored in fatty tissues. Other reasons for the fat to accumulate in the liver include fat transfer from other parts of the body and the inability of the liver to change it into a form that can be eliminated.
The potential causes of fatty liver disease are as follows.
The leading cause of fatty liver disease is obesity. Excess abdominal fat is associated with fatty liver disease and other health risks such as diabetes.
Other than obesity, there are nutritional causes of fatty liver disease. These include starvation and protein malnutrition, long-term use of total parenteral nutrition (a feeding procedure that involves infusing nutrients directly into the blood stream), intestinal bypass surgery for obesity and rapid weight loss.
There are certain medical conditions that can also contribute to fatty liver disease. These are diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia (elevated lipids in the blood), insulin resistance and high blood pressure.
Factors that play a role in the development of fatty liver diseases can be genetic factors, drugs and chemicals such as alcohol, corticosteroids, tetracycline and carbon tetrachloride.
As of now, there is no specific treatment for fatty liver disease. However, doctors recommend getting treatment for any underlying disease such as diabetes. In addition to that, you can take other steps to improve your condition.
If you are a heavy drinker, quitting drinking is the most important thing you can do to prevent complications and keep the disease from advancing. If you are overweight or obese, you should put efforts to lose weight. Losing weight can lessen build-up of fat in the liver.
Moreover, eating a healthful diet and increasing your physical activity can work to a great extent. Try to avoid diets rich in refined carbohydrates and limit foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, corn and concentrated sugar.
Read more artilces on Digestive Diseases.