Why Is Fatty Liver Disease Bad
In most cases, fatty liver disease doesnt cause any serious problems or prevent your liver from functioning normally. But for 7% to 30% of people with the condition, fatty liver disease gets worse over time. It progresses through three stages:
Cirrhosis of the liver
Cirrhosis of the liver is a result of severe damage to the liver. The hard scar tissue that replaces healthy liver tissue slows down the livers functioning. Eventually, it can block liver function entirely. Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.
Delivery Of Fatty Acids From Peripheral Stores To The Liver
Triglycerides are stored in adipose tissue and released as FFAs into the circulation through the actions of lipoprotein lipase. FFAs released from peripheral stores are hydrophobic and are strongly bound to circulating albumin. FFAs are transported by albumin to the liver where they can then be used as a substitute for -oxidation, stored as TAG, or exported as VLDL.
Excess glucose is converted to the liver, the backbone of most amino acids, can be converted to pyruvate and then to acetyl-coenzyme A , which feeds directly into cytosolic fatty acid synthesis.
Processes that can lead to excessive FFAs delivery or impaired -oxidation or secretion can lead to hepatic steatosis, increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation products.
Living With Fatty Liver Disease
If you are living with fatty liver disease, learn as much as you can about your condition and work closely with your medical team. Since many medications can harm your liver, always let all your health care providers know about any medications you are taking. These include OTC drugs, dietary supplements, and vitamins. Other ways to manage fatty liver disease include maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and continuing to avoid alcohol.
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Biological Role Of Insulin
Insulin, after binding its receptor, induces the phosphorylation of receptor substrates in the liver and muscles, and triggers several steps toward the transactivation of glucose transporter-4 .This increases glucose uptake by cells and its storage as glycogen, and inhibits the net production of glucose by the liver, thus blocking glycogenolysis and neoglycogenesis. Moreover, insulin promotes lipid storage by inhibiting lipolysis. When insulin is unable to induce glucose uptake, pancreatic -cells increase insulin production and the hyperinsulinemic state prevents hyperglycemia. Thus, IR depends on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.
What Are The Treatments For Fatty Liver Disease
Doctors recommend weight loss for nonalcoholic fatty liver. Weight loss can reduce fat in the liver, inflammation, and fibrosis. If your doctor thinks that a certain medicine is the cause of your NAFLD, you should stop taking that medicine. But check with your doctor before stopping the medicine. You may need to get off the medicine gradually, and you might need to switch to another medicine instead.
There are no medicines that have been approved to treat NAFLD. Studies are investigating whether a certain diabetes medicine or Vitamin E can help, but more studies are needed.
The most important part of treating alcohol-related fatty liver disease is to stop drinking alcohol. If you need help doing that, you may want to see a therapist or participate in an alcohol recovery program. There are also medicines that can help, either by reducing your cravings or making you feel sick if you drink alcohol.
Both alcoholic fatty liver disease and one type of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can lead to cirrhosis. Doctors can treat the health problems caused by cirrhosis with medicines, operations, and other medical procedures. If the cirrhosis leads to liver failure, you may need a liver transplant.
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Nash Definitions To Know
- Biopsy: a procedure where a sample of tissue is taken from the body to perform further diagnostic testing. In the case of NASH, that tissue is taken from a patients liver.
- Cirrhosis: Also known as liver cirrhosis or hepatic cirrhosis, cirrhosis is a condition where the liver does not function properly due to long-term damage, typically characterized by the replacement of normal liver tissue by scar tissue.
- Fatty liver disease: Fatty liver disease is a condition where excess fat builds up in the liver. Often there are no or few symptoms. There are two types of fatty liver disease: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic liver disease . NAFLD is made up of simple fatty liver and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis . The primary risks for fatty liver disease include alcohol, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
- Fibrosis: Also known as fibrotic scarring, fibrosis is a thickening of connective tissue in the body. It can occur as the result of normal healing, or due to excess tissue deposits. In the case of NAFLD and NASH, fibrosis is the result of the latter, also known as scarring.
Progression Of Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease can progress and develop into more severe forms of liver disease. The first step in the progression of fatty liver disease is nonalcoholic steatohepatitis . Steatohepatitis indicates that fatty liver disease is now causing inflammation within your liver. If your liver is inflamed, this means that the livers cellular processes are not operating as smoothly as usual. The tissues are irritated, and liver processes are essentially clogged.
The progression of liver steatosis tends to be more rapid if you also have other conditions like hepatitis C or iron deposition in the liver.
What is the NASH liver disease life expectancy? Generally, if diet and lifestyle changes are made and recommended medical interventions are followed, an individual with NASH can live a long healthy life.
If NASH is left untreated, it can lead to liver fibrosis, also known as hepatic fibrosis. Fibrosis describes the development of scar tissue in the liver. Over time, fibrosis can lead to liver cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis describes the significant scarring of the liver and impeded liver functions. Over time, liver cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer or liver failure.
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What Causes Fatty Liver Disease
Some people get fatty liver disease without having any pre-existing conditions. But these risk factors make you more likely to develop it:
- Having Type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
- Having metabolic syndrome .
- Taking certain prescription medications, such as amiodarone , diltiazem , tamoxifen or steroids.
Membranes And Reverse Osmosis
Membranes can also be used to separate ethanol and water. Membrane-based separations are not subject to the limitations of the water-ethanol azeotrope because the separations are not based on vapor-liquid equilibria. Membranes are often used in the so-called hybrid membrane distillation process. This process uses a pre-concentration distillation column as the first separating step. The further separation is then accomplished with a membrane operated either in vapor permeation or pervaporation mode. Vapor permeation uses a vapor membrane feed and pervaporation uses a liquid membrane feed.
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How Is Fatty Liver Disease Treated
Theres no medication specifically for fatty liver disease. Instead, doctors focus on helping you control factors that contribute to the condition. They also recommend making lifestyle changes that can significantly improve your health. Treatment includes:
- Avoiding alcohol.
- Losing weight.
- Taking medications to control diabetes, cholesterol and triglycerides .
- Taking vitamin E and thiazolidinediones in specific instances .
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy And Volumetry
MR examinations were performed on a 1.5-T scanner with the patient in supine position. Single-voxel MR spectra were acquired with the integrated body coil using a point-resolved spectroscopy technique and local shimming. Voxels were placed in the right liver lobe trying to avoid bile ducts and larger vessels. Scans were acquired during free breathing with the following sequence parameters: repetition time, TR=3,500 ms, echo time, TE=25 ms, 512 data points, bandwidth, BW=1,000 Hz/pixel, 40 averages, total acquisition time, TA=140 s, and without water suppression.
MR spectra were analyzed with a commercial tool that uses an optimized set of basis functions to determine the relative concentrations of hepatic lipids . Calculated peak areas of water and fat were corrected for T2 relaxation applying previously published literature values and were used to calculate the liver fat content according to the ratio LFC = Sfat/ with Sfat as the sum of the areas under the methyl , methylene and allylic peaks and Swater as the area under the water peak .
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References And Further Reading
Things You Can Do If You Have Non
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the main way of managing NAFLD.
For example, it can help to:
- lose weight you should aim for a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 losing more than 10% of your weight can remove some fat from the liver and improve NASH if you have it
- eat a healthy diet try to have a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates, but low in fat, sugar and salt eating smaller portions of food can help, too
- have water instead of sweet drinks
- exercise regularly aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, such as walking or cycling, a week all types of exercise can help improve NAFLD, even if you do not lose weight
- stop smoking if you smoke, stopping can help reduce your risk of problems such as heart attacks and strokes
NAFLD is not caused by alcohol, but drinking may make it worse. It’s therefore advisable to cut down or stop drinking alcohol.
Page last reviewed: 13 January 2022 Next review due: 13 January 2025
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Stay Away From Refined Grains And Added Sugar
Refined grain and added sugar are significant contributory components to fatty liver disease and metabolic syndrome. Refined grain and added sugar are quickly broken down into glucose molecules in the digestive system. These glucose molecules then enter the bloodstream and spike blood sugar. Insulin is released and signals to body tissues to utilize the glucose as energy, but inevitably, there is leftover glucose that must be stored throughout the body, including the liver. Eating too many refined carbs and added sugar could, over time, contribute to fatty liver disease as well as metabolic conditions like insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Steer clear of products that contain added sugar, such as candy, soda, pastries, cookies, cakes, and ice cream. Even products like granola bars, breakfast cereals, salad dressing, and condiments can contain more added sugars than you think.
To avoid refined grains, stay away from foods like white rice, white pasta, and white bread. Just like added sugar, refined grains are broken down into glucose.
Prevention Of Hepatic Steatosis
A negative by-product of our modern civilization is little need for physical activity and an increased risk of chronic disease, such as heart disease, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and NAFLD. Physical inactivity is one of the causes of these associated metabolic disorders and is an actual known leading cause of death in the United States.-
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The Fatty Liver Disease Diet Plan
Following a diet plan for fatty liver disease can help you reverse fatty liver disease and prevent fatty liver disease progression to NASH and liver cirrhosis.
How long does it take to reverse fatty liver? The length of time required to reverse fatty liver depends on how progressed your condition is.
For more details about making lifestyle changes for fatty liver disease, check out this article on the fatty liver disease diet plan.
Steatosis Treatment And Management
This will depend on the specific diagnosis.
- Alcohol-related fatty liver is managed by abstinence and adequate diet. Abstinence can reverse alcohol-related steatosis.
- Treatment is largely aimed at the cause of the steatosis and steatohepatitis.
- The mainstay of management is weight loss where appropriate and control of comorbidity .
There are currently no drugs licensed for NASH in the UK. USA guidelines advocate the use of vitamin E for NASH and consideration of the use of pioglitazone .
As steatosis is so common it will not be unusual for GPs to be faced with presenting features suggestive of this diagnosis and hence the need for succinct assessment and management.
A 10-minute consultation on NAFLD
- Diagnose NAFLD with confidence:
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
- Am I taking any medications that could contribute to fatty liver disease?
- How much damage does my liver have?
- How long will it take to reverse the liver damage?
- What is a healthy weight for me?
- Can I talk to a nutritionist or go to classes to learn about healthy eating?
- How can I get treatment for alcohol use disorder?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Consider fatty liver disease an early warning sign to help you avoid a fatal liver condition, like cirrhosis or liver cancer. Even if you dont have symptoms or any liver function problems at this point, its still important to take steps to stop or reverse fatty liver disease.
Symptoms And Treatments For High Iron
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Is Mild Hepatomegaly Dangerous
The extent to which a slightly enlarged liver is dangerous depends on the reason for the enlargement.
For people with NAFLD, a slightly enlarged liver is unlikely to pose a major threat to health. However, it could be an indication that a person should consider making some lifestyle changes.
That said, certain conditions can cause a slightly enlarged liver to become a significantly enlarged and damaged liver without treatment. Such conditions include:
- alcohol use disorder
- hepatitis B, C, and D
In general, mild hepatomegaly indicates that it is time to visit a doctor for a full physical evaluation.
Hepatomegaly usually does not cause any symptoms. In fact, the liver conditions that lead to hepatomegaly can progress significantly without causing any symptoms at all.
Because of this, a person should see a doctor if they:
- experience any symptoms of an enlarged liver
- develop any other symptoms of liver disease
- have any conditions that increase their risk of developing liver disease
The outlook for people with hepatomegaly depends on the cause of the hepatomegaly and the extent of the liver damage.
People with hepatitis A and acute hepatitis B usually recover without treatment.
People with the early stages of NAFLD may also have a positive outlook. A mildly damaged liver can often repair itself if a person makes the necessary lifestyle changes early on.
People who have other forms of liver damage will need to ask their doctor about their individual outlook.
What Is Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
NAFLD is a type of fatty liver disease that is not related to heavy alcohol use. There are two kinds:
- Simple fatty liver, in which you have fat in your liver but little or no inflammation or liver cell damage. Simple fatty liver typically does not get bad enough to cause liver damage or complications.
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis , in which you have inflammation and liver cell damage, as well as fat in your liver. Inflammation and liver cell damage can cause fibrosis, or scarring, of the liver. NASH may lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.
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