Fatty Liver Disease Treatment in Opelika, AL
Though you may not feel your liver at work the way you feel your stomach digesting, don’t sell your liver short. It performs a critical job: filtering the harmful substances you ingest out of your blood.
Excessive accumulation of liver fat can cause liver failure, so it’s imperative to keep your liver healthy. To learn more about fatty liver disease treatment in Opelika, call (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
What Are the Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease?
Most of the time, fatty liver disease doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms, though nonalcoholic fatty liver disease symptoms may include an enlarged liver, fatigue, and upper-right abdomen pain. If it’s already causing scar tissue buildup (cirrhosis) or inflammation, fatty liver disease symptoms may include:
- jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
- enlarged breasts
- red palms
- enlarged blood vessels underneath the skin’s surface
- increased bruising
- nausea and vomiting
- high blood pressure in the liver
- liver failure
Are There Different Types of Fatty Liver Disease?
There are two main types of fatty liver disease: alcohol-related fatty liver disease (ALD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The chart below illustrates the symptoms of each condition:
|Alcohol-Related Fatty Liver Disease (ALD)||- Alcoholic hepatitis: The liver swells
- Alcoholic cirrhosis: Scar tissue builds-up in the liver
|Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)||- Simple fatty liver: Liver fat develops without any liver inflammation or liver cell damage
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH): Liver inflammation and liver cell damage
If NASH isn’t treated, it can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
What Causes Fatty Liver Disease?
Drinking too much alcohol causes ALD. NAFLD develops when the body struggles to break down fats. You may be more likely to develop ALD if you are obese, malnourished, or have hepatitis C. You may have a greater likelihood of developing NAFLD if you:
- are overweight or obese
- are genetically predisposed
- have insulin resistance
- have high cholesterol
- have type 2 diabetes
Other causes of fatty liver disease may include:
- the accumulation of copper in your liver (Wilson’s disease)
- abnormally-distributed fat throughout the body (generalized lipodystrophy)
- receiving nutrients through your veins (intravenous nutrition)
- the inability to properly absorb fats (abetalipoproteinemia)
- gallbladder removal
- certain drugs like corticosteroids, tamoxifen, and methotrexate
How Is Fatty Liver Disease Diagnosed?
There are various ways to diagnose fatty liver disease:
- physical exam: can detect jaundice or enlarged liver
- imaging tests: ultrasounds, computerized tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can detect liver fat
- blood tests: can detect the presence of alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase, which can indicate liver problems
- liver biopsy: can detect damage or inflammation through a lab-tested tissue sample
How Is Fatty Liver Disease Treated?
Reversing fatty liver disease requires first diagnosing its type. As there are no medications that can treat fatty liver disease, it must be addressed through dietary changes, and in severe cases, surgical procedures.
ALD liver fat will disappear within six weeks of quitting alcohol consumption. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease treatments include weight loss, exercise, cholesterol management, and blood sugar control. To reverse liver disease patients should eat:
- fruits and vegetables
- whole grain
- green tea
- trans fat
- refined carbohydrates
- saturated fat
If your fatty liver disease intensifies into cirrhosis or liver failure, you may need a liver transplant. Indeed, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the third most-common cause of liver transplant.1 Most liver transplants are highly successful. If it becomes necessary, your healthcare provider will help you find a transplant center.
Reserve Your Appointment Now
1. Machado, Mariana Verdelho, and Helena Cortez-Pinto. “Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: What the Clinician Needs to Know.” World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG 20.36 (2014): 12956–12980. PMC. Web. 4 May 2018.
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