The liver is one of the most important organs in the body: it is responsible for processing and eliminating wastes to prevent them from accumulating through their participation in processes such as metabolism or immune function. When liver activity is severely affected, a person’s life is at very high risk.
In this article we will talk about the causes, symptoms and types of fatty liver disease or fatty liver diseaseOne of the most common disorders of this organ, which predisposes to the development of cirrhosis (pathological scarring of the liver) if not treated properly by lifestyle changes, especially the abstinence from alcohol.
What is fatty liver disease?
Hepatic steatosis is a disease, often asymptomatic, which it consists of an accumulation of fat in the liver cells; the most common are triglycerides, which are associated with atherosclerosis and high cholesterol. The most common name most people use to refer to this disorder is “fatty liver”.
It is a reversible disease because its course usually depends on changes in habits and lifestyle, such as adopting a healthy diet or stopping alcohol consumption. however, fatty liver disease can progress to cirrhosis if not handled properly.
The prevalence of this disorder varies considerably depending on the country to which we are referring; while in some it is around 10%, in many rich countries, this figure exceeds 20% of the population. Either way, fatty liver is a very common disease, especially in obese people.
Signs and symptoms of this disorder
Fatty liver disease often manifests as an asymptomatic disorder, where only non-specific symptoms such as fatigue or upset stomach appear. This is why many people are not aware that they have this problem if a physical exam does not detect a characteristic sign: a slight increase in the size of the liver.
Most Symptoms of fatty liver are associated with inflammation of this organ. When this happens, it is common for symptoms such as fatigue, physical weakness, confusion, abdominal pain, decreased appetite and consequently body weight to appear.
The liver has a certain capacity for self-repair. This process occurs by the generation of new liver cells which replace damaged ones. However, if the liver is strained in excess, chronic tissue healing can occur; when steatosis progresses to this point, it is called hepatic cirrhosis.
Causes of fatty liver disease
When excess fat accumulates in the liver, the functioning of this organ is impaired; it means that our body cannot properly eliminate the wastes that are introduced into our body, especially through what we eat and drink.
Alcohol abuse and addiction are the most common causes of fatty liver diseaseAs excessive consumption of this substance causes damage to the liver. When it comes to the main causative factor in the onset of the disease, the terms “alcoholic fatty liver disease” and “alcoholic fatty liver disease” are used.
some the most relevant risk factors by the onset of fatty liver disease are obesity, diets high in sugars and fats (which can cause type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia) and in advanced age; most cases occur between the ages of 40 and 60. Genetic inheritance and the use of aspirin or steroids are also associated with this disorder.
Types of fatty liver
Cases of fatty liver disease are generally classified according to whether their cause is excessive alcohol consumption or another. However, there is also a special variant to mention: Acute fatty liver of pregnancy.
1.non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease it is usually associated with fat breakdown disorders; this causes them to accumulate in the liver. The basic criterion used to diagnose this variant of fatty liver disease is that at least 10% of the tissue in this organ is made up of lipids.
2. Alcoholic foie gras
Alcoholism damages liver cells and interferes with their functioning; this includes the breakdown of lipids. If after alcoholic fatty liver disease is detected, alcohol consumption is maintained, it is very likely that the disorder will progress to cirrhosis; however, after about two months of abstinence, the steatosis disappears.
3. Acute and associated with pregnancy
This type of fatty liver is a rare complication that appears in the third trimester of pregnancy. Symptoms tend to go away after childbirth and include feeling generally unwell, upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and jaundice, which is a yellowish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes.