Fatty Liver Disease: Diagnosis & Treatment at Internal Medicine Clinicby Artisans of Medicine NYC Quality & Affordable Healthcare in NYC
The liver is the largest internal organ in a human body that helps your body digest food, filters harmful substances from your body, and store energy. Fatty liver disease is a condition in which too much fat builds up in liver cells. It is also known as hepatic steatosis.
Although it is normal to have small amounts of fat in these cells, too much fat can cause liver inflammation which may lead to scarring and damage your liver. In serious conditions, scarring may result in liver failure.
Types of Fatty Liver Disease
There are two main types of fatty liver disease: nonalcoholic and alcoholic.
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) - As the name says, alcohol isn’t the cause of this condition. Instead, it results largely from a metabolic syndrome which is a condition caused by high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high levels of bad cholesterol, and excess belly fat. Different types of NAFLD include:
● Simple fatty liver - If the fat builds up in your liver but there is no inflammation or other complications, the condition is called the simple fatty liver. It usually doesn’t get worse to cause liver damage or other problems.
● Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) - This means your liver is inflamed and cells are damaged due to excess fat. This condition can cause serious problems like fibrosis or scarring, cirrhosis, or liver cancer.
● Acute fatty liver of pregnancy (AFLP) - It is a serious complication of pregnancy that may appear in the third trimester. If left untreated, it may cause serious health risks to both mother and growing baby.
Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AFLD) - It occurs due to heavy alcohol use which damages the liver. The damaged liver can’t break down fat properly which may cause inflammation or discomfort in the liver. If left untreated, it may bring serious issues including:
● Alcoholic hepatitis - This is a liver inflammation that can cause fever, vomiting, jaundice, nausea, and belly pain.
● Alcoholic cirrhosis - It happens when scar tissue buildup in the liver. Severe liver scarring may turn into cirrhosis which may cause liver failure.
What Causes Fatty Liver?
There are various factors that may contribute to build-up fat in the liver. Some of the causes of fatty liver disease as observed by internal medicine doctors are as follows:
● Insulin resistance
● Excess fat in the blood
● High blood sugar
● Impaired gut health
● Rapid weight loss
● Exposure to certain toxins
● Infections like hepatitis C
● Frequent intake of refined carbs
● Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption
● Side effects from certain medications
● High blood pressure
● Metabolic syndrome
Symptoms of Fatty Liver
Fatty liver usually causes no noticeable symptoms. Some people with this disease may experience signs such as tiredness, pain or discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen. Some people may get cirrhosis with symptoms such as:
● Weakness and fatigue
● Weight loss
● Loss of appetite
● Abdominal pain and swelling
● Pale skin and eyes
● Breast enlargement in men
● Elevated insulin level
● Nausea and vomiting
● Enlarged blood vessel underneath your skin
● Red palms
● Swelling of the legs
Cirrhosis can be life-threatening. See your internist for any of these symptoms to get an early diagnosis and proper treatment.
Diagnosis of Fatty Liver Disease
Since the symptoms are not generally visible, it’s not easy to diagnose this disease. Your doctor at the internal medicine clinic may use various methods to check if you have a fatty liver.
Medical History - As a part of health history, your doctor may ask about your alcohol consumption and other lifestyle habits, any medications that you might take, recent changes in your health, your family history of liver disease, and other medical conditions that you might have.
Physical Exam - During the physical exam, your doctor may press on your abdomen, check your weight and height to look for liver inflammation, jaundice or enlarged liver.
Blood Tests - If you have elevated liver enzymes such as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), your internist may order for blood tests including liver function and blood count tests.
Imaging Studies - In certain cases, you may get imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scan or MRI to check for excess fat or other liver disorders.
Liver Biopsy - Biopsy is recommended for those who are at risk of NASH to confirm the diagnosis and check the severity of liver damage. Your doctor removes a sample of tissue for examination.
How to Treat Fatty Liver?
Your doctor may advise lifestyle changes, such as limiting alcohol use, lose weight and exercise more, and switch to a healthy diet. If you develop complications, your internist may prescribe lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery like a liver transplant.
Be kind to your heart and reach out to the best internal medicine clinic in Brooklyn & Bayridge, NYC at Artisans of Medicine to get the right diagnosis and treatment of fatty liver disease and any other liver disorder. Visit us right away!
Created on Aug 19th 2019 07:40. Viewed 246 times.