Living With Fatty Liver Disease

Living With Fatty Liver Disease

Living with health issues can be extremely stressful — especially when one health issue dominos into others. Such is the case with fatty liver disease. Being overweight, living with Type II diabetes, or having high cholesterol are just some of the conditions that can lead to fatty liver disease. But, they aren’t the only factors. If you were recently diagnosed, you might be wondering what to do next. Can you reverse the condition, is there a cure, and how can you live with fatty liver disease?

 

What is fatty liver disease?

Fatty liver disease is when your liver stores extra fat. This is sometimes caused by other medical conditions, but can also be the result of lifestyle choices. There are different types of fatty liver disease, including:

    • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
    • Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD)

Causes of Fatty Liver Disease

The differences between NAFLD, NASH, and AFLD can be confusing. NAFLD is typically caused by medical conditions such as Type II diabetes, hypothyroidism, high cholesterol, and more. NASH is similar but includes inflammation and injury to the liver cells, whereas alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by drinking too much alcohol. Over time, the alcohol causes a buildup of fat in your liver — this can lead to liver failure if left untreated.

Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease

Depending on your condition, you may or may not show symptoms of fatty liver disease. NAFLD rarely shows symptoms, while NASH can cause:

  • Abdominal pain (usually in the upper right side of the abdomen)
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Red palms of the hands
  • Visible spider-like blood vessels
  • Yellow hue to the skin
  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes
  • Enlarged breasts in men
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

AFLD is similar to NAFLD in that it is slow to display symptoms. But, if you drink more than the recommended alcohol serving per day and experience any of the following signs, you should consult with your doctor immediately:

  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech

Can fatty liver disease be cured?

Once diagnosed, fatty liver disease can be prevented and even cured — to an extent — by maintaining a healthy weight and incorporating regular exercise into your lifestyle. Even going for a walk for 45 minutes each day can significantly benefit your liver and overall health. Other lifestyle changes include introducing a plant-based whole food diet into your routine and quitting drinking — if your condition is AFLD.

If, however, your fatty liver disease has caused cirrhosis, a complete cure isn’t possible. When this happens, your liver experiences scarring that prevents it from fully healing. To treat fatty liver disease that’s resulted in scarring, your doctor may prescribe medications to help control your symptoms. Clinical trials have also provided access to potential treatments.

If You Believe You May Have Fatty Liver Disease, Let Us Help You

At Pinnacle Research, we specialize in the exploration of liver disease. We work with more than 70 referring physicians in San Antonio and Austin, providing clinical trials in liver disease.

Contact us to discuss how we can help you.