Fatty Liver Disease

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Fatty Liver Disease Treatments, News and Developments

Fatty Liver Treatment
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Fatty liver, or fatty liver disease, is a chronic reversible condition in which the liver accumulates large vacuoles of fat through an abnormal retention of lipids within cells, a process known as steatosis. Fatty liver has various causes, including alcoholism, obesity, and Type II diabetes. There are other associations with other diseases which affect fat metabolism. The disease also tends to run in families, suggesting a hereditary risk component.


Fatty liver disease often responds to changes in diet. Most obviously, a reduction or elimination of alcohol intake may alleviate the symptoms, and is required for other reasons in alcoholics or alcohol addicts.

Weight loss is also an appropriate strategy; compared to a 20% rate in the general population, fatty liver afflicts 75% of obese people. A vegetarian diet high in fiber and low in fat may help with the disease; although clinical trials have not been completed to show this connection, such diets often result in weight loss. However, it's important to lose weight gradually, as rapid weight loss (1 pound per week or more in children, or 3.5 pounds in adults) may actually worsen the illness.

Care and Treatment

Generally speaking, no special care and treatment is needed for fatty liver beyond treating the underlying cause: excessive alcohol intake, obesity, or diabetes.

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The disease is usually asymptomatic and is discovered and diagnosed only on blood testing which may reveal elevated liver enzymes, followed by a screen to exclude viral hepatitis, then imaging study which may reveal fatty deposits. At this stage the patient's alcohol intake is assessed. If you drink more than two drinks a day on the average, the diagnosis is likely to be alcoholic fatty liver disease; otherwise, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is assessed.


The major complication of fatty liver disease is hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer. This occurs in up to ten percent of people with alcoholic fatty liver disease, and the association with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is established but not quantified.

Fatty liver disease can also increase the danger of cardiovascular illness; however, as the same is true of obesity and alcoholism, the two main causes of fatty liver disease, it's difficult to say exactly how much this risk is increased. Fatty liver disease is also an early sign of liver fibrosis, which in extreme manifestation becomes cirrhosis of the liver, a life-threatening condition sometimes resulting from advanced alcoholism. Some of these advanced complications may require a liver transplant.


One complication of the epidemic of obesity in children is that increased numbers of children are being diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The progress, treatment, and potential complications from fatty liver disease are more or less the same in children as in adults.


Although fatty liver disease is usually asymptomatic, some people do develop a persistent nagging pain in the upper right portion of the body over an enlarged liver. Weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss are other symptoms. Generally, if you do have a symptomatic form of the disease, that may indicate a more serious condition.


A rare complication of pregnancy, acute fatty liver, is potentially life-threatening for both the mother and the fetus. The causes are not well known, but it is not the same disorder as either alcoholic or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, although it also takes the form of fatty deposits in the liver.

Fatty liver of pregnancy can result in liver failure for both the mother and the fetus. When this complication is diagnosed, the baby is delivered as soon as possible. Liver function usually returns to normal within a few weeks afterwards.

Fatty Liver Disease

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