fatty_liverNon-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is a condition that affects the Liver. But the important key factor is that this liver problems occurs in patients with little or no alcohol use.

In individuals with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease – In some cases, they can have no observable symptoms. At least initially. As the liver continues to store fat, liver problems can develop.

Fatty liver can present patients with and without Alcohol. When this happens it is referred to as Steatosis. When this diagnosis comes in a patient without a history of Alcohol use, it is called Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis.  Inflammation is the process that can lead to liver damage, scarring and potentially irreversible damage.

The findings are very similar to someone with heavy alcohol abuse. Inflammation can lead to Fibrosis of the liver, hepatic fibrosis, Cirrhosis, and mortality.

Typically, alcohol is a large risk factor for liver disease, damage, fibrosis. When alcohol is the cause agent of liver disease it is referred to as Alcohol-Induced Liver Disease.

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is increasingly common throughout the world, but especially in Western nations. It is estimated to affect more than 80 million people in the United States.

The age most affected is people between 40-50, but can be seen in every age group. Those who are at risk for obesity, Type II Diabetes, Heart disease and Metabolic Syndrome. Increased amount of Fat, poor ability to use Insulin, elevated blood pressure (Hypertension), and elevated Cholesterol and Triglycerides all play a factor.

Potential Causes/Risks: 

–  Obesity (40%)
–  Diabetes Mellitus (20%)
–  Hypertriglyceridema (20%)  (Elevated Lipid profile)
–  Hypertension (High Blood pressure)
–  Poisons
–  and others

Symptoms:

–  Enlarged Liver (75%)
–  Fatigue
–  Weakness
–  Malaise
–  Weight loss
–  Loss of appetite
–  Nausea
–  Ascites
–  Jaundice

Diagnosis

–  Medical Exam and History
–  Abnormal blood work – especially Liver Enzymes
–  Liver biopsy may be appropriate
–  Ultrasound
–  CT may be benefical

Treatment:

–  Weight loss
–  Exercise
–  Treatment of Risk Factors is essential.

Medications

  –  Metformin in diabetic individuals
–  Blood pressure medications
–  High Lipid medications
–  Vitamin E
–  Vitamin C
  –  Ursodiol (Actigall)  – may be helpful

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