Your liver is fatty if your liver is swollen and enlarged. Fatty liver disease also often results in abdominal pain, but it can also cause no symptoms at all, so it's important to have regular check-ups with your doctor.
Different factors may play a role in fatty liver diseases, such as obesity, elevated blood glucose, and elevated triglycerides. Obesity has become a problem worldwide due to the current obesity epidemic. It is well known that fatty deposits accumulate in many organs of obese people, including the heart and skeletal muscle. However, in fatty liver disease, these fatty deposits accumulate specifically in the liver itself.
An individual who regularly drinks alcohol or uses other drugs will suffer effects of fatty liver more drastically than an individual who does not use alcohol or other drugs. Liver damage can occur rapidly, and fatty liver disease may lead to more serious fatty liver conditions such as alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis if alcohol is used or abused.
If fatty liver disease is not treated, it may progress into a more serious condition – alcoholic hepatitis, which can damage the liver cells and lead to inflammation. The inflammation causes swelling of the liver, resulting in fatty deposits breaking open, allowing enzymes to escape from within these fatty deposits that cause further inflammation. Alcoholic hepatitis can also result in death if left untreated.
The accumulation of fatty deposits will eventually become so numerous that they displace the whole liver structure making it difficult for blood to reach certain organ areas. If fatty deposits migrate much further, fatty liver disease can progress into cirrhosis of the liver, preventing liver cells from carrying out their vital functions.
There are several fatty liver symptoms that you should look out for if you feel fatty deposits in your liver are high. These symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, pale-colored stools, and yellowish coloration of eyes or skin (jaundice). If fatty liver disease is left untreated, it could potentially lead to life-threatening conditions such as alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver.
An important factor when diagnosing fatty liver disease is related to the damage done to the veins in the esophagus because fatty deposits prevent blood from reaching these veins and cause them to bleed, which causes upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
Fatty Liver Disease Symptoms:
• Swelling (edema)
• Weight gain
• Enlargement of the abdomen (belly)
• Itchy skin
• Discomfort during meals due to fullness
• Abnormal blood tests related to liver function, such as elevated GGT and ALT levels
Overweight people are advised to exercise regularly and maintain a proper diet to avoid fatty liver disease. Exercising is crucial for the fatty liver and the body as it strengthens muscles that help support internal organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, stomach, intestines, etc. Fatty deposits are more likely to accumulate inside major blood vessels if fatty liver disease is not treated. Hence, it's important to keep fatty deposits away from key organs within your body by exercising regularly.
If fatty liver disease is left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening conditions such as alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver, so don't take your fatty liver symptoms lightly – visit your doctor after identifying one of these symptoms.