Fatty Liver

Fatty liver or hepatic steatosis is a condition that results from the accumulation of fats in the liver. Accumulation of fat in excess is harmful for health. This condition can be reversed by incorporating changes in lifestyle. It doesn’t show symptoms until it causes permanent damage. Fatty Liver affects around 10% – 20% of Americans without cirrhosis or inflammation. According to American Liver Foundation, most people affected by this condition are between 40-60 years old. Fatty liver can cause harm only if its cause is undetected and left untreated. There are 2 types of Fatty liver:

  1. Alcoholic Fatty liver disease: Caused by consumption of alcohol.
  2. Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver disease (NAFLD): not caused by the consumption of alcohol.

Causes:

  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • Drastic and sudden loss of weight
  • Hereditary reasons
  • Being obese
  • Side effects of medicines like tetracycline (Panmycin), aspirin, steroids and tamoxifen (Nolvadex)

Symptoms:

  • Failure of the liver
  • Yellowness or jaundice
  • Internal bleeding
  • Edema or fluid buildup in the body
  • Muscle wastage
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Confusion or inability to concentrate

Diagnosis:

  • Blood tests: Doctors recommend blood tests to measure the enzymes. A high number of some enzymes indicate the patient has fatty liver.
  • Physical examination: Doctors check the patient to see if he/she has enlarged liver.
  • Imaging tests: Imaging tests like Ultrasound, CT scan and MRI are conducted by the doctors to see if the patient has developed a fatty liver.
  • Liver biopsy: Doctors recommend liver biopsy by extracting a tissue of liver and examining it to observe the condition of the liver.

Treatment:

  • Treatment or counseling for quitting alcohol.
  • Completely stopping the intake of alcohol for good.
  • Weight loss is recommended.
  • Manage blood sugar levels.
  • Controlling cholesterol and reduce sugar intake and intake of saturated fatty acids.
  • If liver cirrhosis occurs, Liver transplant is required. Liver transplant is the only way of treating Liver Cirrhosis completely. This treatment involves the transfer of a healthy liver of a donor into the body of a recipient.

Life after surgery:

Liver transplants are usually a great success. According to the most recent year computed UNOS/OPTN (2004) national average one-year graft survival at 83%, and patient survival at 87% for patients receiving a deceased donor liver and 92% for those transplanted with an organ from a living donor.

After a liver transplant, a patient is recommended to stay in the I.C.U for a few days and then later shifted to the transplant recovery area for 5-10 days. The patient can then go back to normal day-to-day activities. Regular follow-ups are advised and patients have to take the medicines for lifetime.

 

Risks involved:

Risks involved in a liver transplant include:

  • Organ rejection.
  • Failure of the donated liver.
  • Clots of blood.
  • Bile duct leaks.
  • Shrinking of bile ducts.
  • Long-term complications may also include recurrence of liver disease in the transplanted liver.

Prognosis:

Most of the fatty liver cases do not progress into a liver disease. As a liver has the ability to heal itself, patients only need to control high diabetes, cholesterol or increasing body weight. Alcoholics must reduce, avoid and slowly stop the intake of alcohol.

Not all patients with non-alcoholic liver disease develop scarring or cirrhosis. 25% of the patients with steatohepatitis develop cirrhosis within 10 years.

Only half of the patients suffering from liver cirrhosis can develop liver failure. Thus, their survival rate is shorter than 2 years.

Prevention:

  • Avoid or stop the intake of alcohol.
  • Take medicines by the doctor for high cholesterol or diabetes.
  • Follow-up as and when required.
  • Practice 30 minutes of exercise for staying healthy.
  • Have a healthy diet with low salt and sugar content. Add a lot of vegetables and fruits to your diet.
  • Get vaccinated for pneumococcal disease, flu, Hepatitis A and B.

 

Cost:

The treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases costs around $103 per year.

 

New Life Clinics offers a low-risk way to treat Fatty Liver. Our team of experienced and skilled doctors make life at hospital a painless one and guarantee a speedy recovery.

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