Fatty liver is yellow and color have a greasy texture. Fatty liver disease is also known as steatosis or hepatic steatosis. It is cause by having too much fat in your liver. A healthy liver contains a small amount of fat up to five percent and anything more than five percent is considered abnormal. When the amount of fat reaches 10 percent there can this can lead to health problems.
There are two main forms of fatty liver disease
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease is the accumulation of fat in the liver due to heavy drinking
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver occurs in people who aren't heavy drinkers
What is liver?
The liver is the largest internal organ. It weighs somewhere between three and three and a half pounds. It's the size of a football and it's located in your right upper quadrant protected by the rib cage and has multiple functions. It processes nutrients absorbed through your gut and it also processes poisons.
Its function is to metabolize drugs and excrete bile. It's a very important organ in fighting off infections and it makes multiple factors including blood clotting factors. And additionally, it makes the liver makes cholesterol as well as store iron.
(NAFLD) Non-Alcoholic fatty liver:
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the most common cause of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis leading to liver transplants. The term non-alcoholic fatty liver disease covers a spectrum of diseases.Most patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease simply have steatosis or fatty liver with no significant inflammation and no scar tissue. But about 20 percent of patients with NAFLD will develop inflammation as well as a ballooning of hepatocytes of liver cells. This condition is known as steatohepatitis. This is a much more serious form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and it can progress to cirrhosis and eventually lead to liver cancer.
Somebody who starts off with a healthy liver and develops obesity. After some time diabetes and dyslipidemia have a chance to develop fatty liver.
For these individuals, fatty liver is a bellwether for cardiovascular complications. For NAFLD patients about 25 to 30 percent of them can develop non-alcoholic Seattle hepatitis and that eventually can lead to the development of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
The prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in the U.S is around 20 to 25 percent. So that a quarter of over 50 million Americans with NAFLD develop NASH. Most individuals who are not obese, particularly Asians, are post-menopausal individuals with underlying diabetes about seven percent of them may have NAFLD.
How NASH and fatty liver are connected?
NASH stands for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. That's a more serious form of the fatty liver where not only is there fat but there is inflammation ballooning of liver cells which oftentimes leads to progressive fibrosis. So, the way of determining NASH would be a liver biopsy. There are hints sometimes on the fibro scan or the Mr elastogram that could show signs of NASH. But a biopsy is really the best way to determine that.
Common risk factors for NAFLD and fatty liver:
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is not due to alcoholism. The most common associated risk factors are
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Abnormal cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Women with polycystic ovary syndrome
There are other conditions that are seen with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Pancreatic duodenal resections
- Individuals with hypogonadism
- Individuals with hypo-pituitary function
How to diagnose NAFLD for fatty liver patients?
The simple non-invasive way of diagnosing NAFLD and the presence of scar tissue are blood tests and a technique called elastography.
So there's a simple formula called the fibrosis four score which involves computing the age, the alt ast values as well as the platelet count. There are more complex blood tests called the fibrospect or the enhanced liver fibrosis panel.
And a Fibrosis-4 calculator is use to predict whether an individual with NAFLD has any excessive scar tissue (a more serious form of the fatty liver). This is called the fibro scan.
A fibro scan takes about 10 minutes. In which a device is place over your ribs. And that sends off a little shock wave which is track as it passes through your liver. And by that, we can measure the stiffness of your liver. It is a more accurate and also non-invasive way of measuring fibrosis, fat as well as iron.
Another way is liver biopsy, which involves inserting a needle into the liver. It removes a piece of liver that's about the width of a pencil lead (about an inch long). It is examine under a microscope.
How to treat NAFLD and fatty liver naturally?
- Maintain a healthy weight by making good food choices
- Exercising on a regular basis
- Weight loss
- Try to use a Mediterranean diet that is based primarily on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, chicken, fish, and olive oil
- Use two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day without sugar. Because caffeinated coffee is highly beneficial to liver health. It has polyphenols that provide antioxidative effects that benefit the liver
- Avoid smoking
- Staying away from simple sugar. Particularly fructose that's present in a lot of carbonated beverages and also in simple table sugar. Sucrose when digested is break down intot0 fructose and glucose
- Avoid red meat
Non-Alcoholic fatty liver disease is a reversible condition. The liver has a very unique property in that it regenerates so even with a five percent
Is drinking related to a fatty liver?
The current recommendations are that males should not consume more than two units of alcohol per day and a woman no more than one unit a day. A unit of alcohol is a regular 12-ounce beer or one glass of wine or one shot of liquor. 90 percent of individuals of men who drink more than 40 grams of alcohol will develop alcohol-related fatty liver. And for women, the quantity is less than 30 grams or three units