Fatty Liver, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Fatty liver disease (FLD), also known as hepatic steatosis, is a condition where excess fat builds up in the liver.[1] Often there are no or few symptoms.[1][2] Occasionally there may be tiredness or pain in the upper right side of the abdomen.[1] Complications may include cirrhosis, liver cancer, and esophageal varices.[1][3]

There are two types of fatty liver disease: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic liver disease.[1] NAFLD is made up of simple fatty liver and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).[5][1] The primary risks include alcohol, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.[1][3] Other risk factors include certain medications such as glucocorticoids, and hepatitis C.[1] It is unclear why some people with NAFLD develop simple fatty liver and others develop NASH.[1] Diagnosis is based on the medical history supported by blood tests, medical imaging, and occasionally liver biopsy.[1]

Treatment of NAFLD is generally otherwise by dietary changes and exercise to bring about weight loss.[1] In those who are severely affected, liver transplantation may be an option.[1] More than 90% of all heavy drinkers develop fatty liver while about 25% develop the more severe alcoholic hepatitis.[4] NAFLD affects about 30% of people in Western countries and 10% of people in Asia.[2] NAFLD affects about 10% of children in the United States.[1] It occurs more often in older people and males.[3][5] Fatty liver can develop into a fibrosis or a liver cancer.[6] For people affected by NAFLD, the 10-year survival rate was about 80%. The rate of progression of fibrosis in NASH is estimated to one per 7 years and 14 years for NAFLD, with an increasing speed.[7][8] There is a strong relationship between these pathologies and metabolic illnesses (diabetes type II, metabolic syndrome). These pathologies can also affect non-obese people, who are then at a higher risk.[6]

Less than 10% of people with cirrhotic alcoholic FLD will develop hepatocellular carcinoma,[9] the most common type of primary liver cancer in adults, but up to 45% people with NASH without cirrhosis can develop hepatocellular carcinoma.[10]

The condition is also associated with other diseases that influence fat metabolism.[11]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *