The fatty liver is one of the most common liver conditions resulting from a diet high in fat and certain harmful habits. Medically known as hepatic steatosis, this, in principle, is a benign condition that requires various adjustments in our daily routine to eliminate fat from the liver and avoid severe and possible complications such as steatohepatitis, liver cirrhosis, or liver cancer. In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain fatty liver’s causes, symptoms, and treatment.
What is the fatty liver?
The fatty liver is usually a benign and largely asymptomatic condition in which the fat accumulates in the liver, increasing the size of this body and the unmistakable appearance of lipid in the area.
One of its biggest triggers is excessive alcohol consumption, a habit that can seriously compromise the health of this organ, leading to severe pathologies such as cirrhosis. However, this condition can also occur in patients with a deficient alcohol intake. This condition is known as non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis.
Causes of fatty liver
In people who frequently consume alcohol and those who suffer from alcoholism, fatty liver is widespread. However, an essential group of patients does not often drink and present it. This is because there are other causes that enhance this condition, for example:
- It is being overweight or obese one of the primary triggers of this pathology.
- Eating a very high diet in fat means that lipids cannot be adequately processed and eliminated from the body, accumulating in the liver.
- We have diabetes, which increases the chances of suffering from fatty liver.
- She was suffering from high blood pressure or high cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Patients with inflammatory bowel diseases are more likely to develop this condition.
- In addition, hepatic steatosis can occur in patients who have lost weight very quickly and radically, in those who consume excessively anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids, or drugs, and those who have inherited metabolic diseases.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Hepatic Steatosis
In a vast majority of cases, fatty liver is an entirely asymptomatic condition that is diagnosed by a simple blood test. However, some patients show sure signs depending on whether or not there is severe liver damage.
The symptoms of fatty liver are:
- Abdominal pain in the upper right part.
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Feeling of heaviness
If significant liver damage occurs, then the patient may experience:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Notorious fluid retention.
- Jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes.
In addition to a simple blood test in which the specialist will be able to detect the alteration of specific values that indicate the presence of fatty liver, other tests may be performed to confirm the diagnosis, such as an abdominal ultrasound, an MRI, or a CT scan. . If the specialist suspects that this condition has progressed to steatohepatitis, they may want to perform a liver biopsy.
Fatty liver treatment
There is no pharmacological treatment for fatty liver, so the only way to eliminate the accumulation of lipids in this area is by making a change in daily habits. To cure this condition, it is recommended:
- Eliminate alcohol consumption, an essential measure in cases of alcoholic hepatic steatosis. If necessary, you should go to a rehabilitation center.
- Losing weight in the case of obesity and overweight will help eliminate the lipids accumulated in the liver and significantly improve health. It should not be forgotten that obesity increases the risk of suffering from diabetes or heart disease conditions.
- Reduce fat in the diet by consuming more fresh foods such as vegetables and fruits and opting for healthy preparations made in the oven, steamed, cooked, or grilled.
- It is also recommended to avoid the intake of sweets, industrial pastries, soft drinks, and salt, ingredients that can promote weight gain and excess fat in the diet.
- Performing physical exercise is essential to control weight and eliminate fat accumulation in the body. It is recommended to practice physical activity between 3 and 5 times a week, especially opting for cardiovascular exercises such as brisk walking, running, dancing, aerobics, and swimming.
- It is also essential that people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol and triglycerides control these conditions to prevent the fatty liver from advancing.
Fatty liver complications
In most cases, primarily when hepatic steatosis is not caused by excessive alcohol intake, this condition is benign and can be controlled by following the abovementioned recommendations. However, in some cases, the pathology progresses, generating severe complications such as:
- Steatohepatitis is a condition in which there is inflammation and damage to the organ in addition to fat in the liver.
- Cirrhosis manifests when the liver has scarring and poor functioning, a widespread condition in those who abuse alcohol.
- Liver cancer is one of the consequences of cirrhosis.
Keys to preventing this condition
Because improper habits mainly produce hepatic steatosis, preventing fatty liver is possible by taking into account some basic measures:
- Moderate alcohol intake or cut it out entirely if there is a family history of liver problems
- Eat a proper diet low in fat and rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Maintain a good weight and avoid obesity. If you have this condition, it is essential to seek a nutrition professional and start a weight loss diet as soon as possible.
- Perform physical exercise frequently as the activity significantly reduces the possibility of suffering from this condition.
- Avoid excessive consumption of medication, self-medication or drug intake, habits that can severely affect liver health.
- If you suffer from diabetes or hypertension, it is essential to control the disease to avoid complications properly.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.