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. Often there are no or few symptoms. Occasionally there may be tiredness or pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. Complications may include cirrhosis, liver cancer, and esophageal varices.
There are two types of fatty liver disease: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic liver disease. NAFLD is made up of simple fatty liver and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The primary risks include alcohol, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Other risk factors include certain medications such as glucocorticoids, and hepatitis C. It is unclear why some people with NAFLD develop simple fatty liver and others develop NASH. Diagnosis is based on the medical history supported by blood tests, medical imaging, and occasionally liver biopsy.
Treatment of NAFLD is generally otherwise by dietary changes and exercise to bring about weight loss. In those who are severely affected, liver transplantation may be an option. More than 90% of all heavy drinkers develop fatty liver while about 25% develop the more severe alcoholic hepatitis. NAFLD affects about 30% of people in Western countries and 10% of people in Asia. NAFLD affects about 10% of children in the United States. It occurs more often in older people and males. Fatty liver can develop into a fibrosis or a liver cancer. 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. 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.
Less than 10% of people with cirrhotic alcoholic FLD will develop hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of primary liver cancer in adults, but up to 45% people with NASH without cirrhosis can develop hepatocellular carcinoma.
The condition is also associated with other diseases that influence fat metabolism.