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An Understanding Of Fatty Liver Disease



Aug 11, 2010
You may not know this but a fatty liver disease is not necessarily caused by having too much fat accumulating in the liver cells. In fact, a simple fatty liver does not damage the liver and hence it is not considered a disease. A fatty liver disease occurs when there is an inordinate use of alcohol, diabetes mellitus or excessive weight gain. It can also result from poor diet or due to certain diseases, like tuberculosis and intestinal bypass surgery for obesity, and particuar drugs, like corticosteroids.

A drinking problem can increase your risk to developing fatty liver disease. Alcoholism can cause alcoholic hepatitis (that is, your liver is inflamed),and/or alcoholic cirrhosis (scarring of the liver). A fatty liver is usually diagnosed in those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol, but the evidence suggests that the fatty liver does not, by itself, cause alcoholic hepatitis or alcoholic cirrhosis.

A fatty liver disease which resembles alcoholic hepatitis is called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH refers to the inflammation of the liver that is usually associated with a build-up of fat deposits that occur in patients who are usually middle-aged, overweight and often diabetic yet who do not drink alcohol. With prolonged inflammation, the fatty tissue in your liver begins to break up (steatonecrosis) and you may develop cirrhosis.

There are studies that show 20 to 40 percent of people who are grossly overweight have gone on to develop NASH. However, a condition of being grossly overweight does not mean there is a certainty that you will develop NASH.

The treatment of fatty liver disease is related to the cause. If you are an obese person with fatty liver, then lose weight to shed excess fat, in the liver cells and in other cells of your body. Stopping your intake of alcohol can also result in loss of liver fat.

To prevent fatty liver diseases, regular exercises and a healthy diet can help. Get into the routine of exercising daily, such as walking. Also, adopt a healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, and fibre) that is low in calories and low in cholesterol. Also avoid taking drugs excessively and for prolonged periods of time. Discuss with your physician about kicking off your alcohol addiction.