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Fatty Liver

By: Peduli Hati Bangsa Team, 10 November 2023

Fatty liver is conditions in which the liver store excessive fat. This condition is known with the term steatosis. This health problem can also be influenced by various factors, one of which is high cholesterol levels in the body.

Please note, under normal conditions the liver does contain fat. However, you should be wary of this condition when the fat levels in the liver are too high (fatty liver).

What is fatty liver?

The liver is an organ which one of the function is to process fat into energy. So, fat in the liver is normal as long as the amount is small. If the fat content in the liver is too high, this condition can cause fatty liver.

Fatty liver can generally be overcome through changes to a healthier lifestyle. However, it does not rule out the possibility that this disease will get worse as time goes by. Here are the steps:

  1. It begins with inflammation of the liver which damages the surrounding tissue. This condition is also known as steatohepatitis.
  2. Next, scar tissue begins to form on the damaged liver. This condition is also known as liver fibrosis.
  3. In the final stages, scar tissue slowly replaces healthy tissue. This condition is known as liver cirrhosis.
Fatty liver cause

Based on the cause, fatty liver can be divided into two types, a Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AFLD).

  1. Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
    NAFLD is fatty liver that is not related to alcohol consumption. It is not yet known exactly what causes this condition, but several things are known to increase the risk of NAFLD, including:
    • High cholesterol
    • High calories food consumption
    • Lack of nutrition
    • Diabetes dan obesity.
  2. Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AFLD)
    AFLD is fatty liver caused by the habit of consuming excessive alcoholic drinks. The process of breaking down alcohol by the liver can produce substances that risk damaging liver cells and increasing inflammation. So, the more alcohol consumed, the higher the risk of liver damage.
    AFLD is the initial stage of alcohol-related liver disease. If not treated immediately, this condition can develop into alcoholic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis.
Fatty liver risk factor

Several factors that can increase a person’s risk of experiencing steatosis (fatty liver) are:

  • Obesity and Diabetes type 2.
  • Metabolic disorders.
  • High cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormones) and hypopituitarism (low pituitary hormones).
  • Insulin resistance.
  • Hepatitis C
  • Taking certain medications, such as corticosteroids.
Fatty liver symptoms

Steatosis (fatty liver) is a disease that usually appears without any symptoms in the early stages.
However, as the disease progresses, patients will usually experience several symptoms in the form of:

  • Upper right abdominal pain.
  • Weight loss.
  • Swelling (edema) in the legs and stomach.
  • Feeling weak and tired.
  • Bloated.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Jaundice, characterized by changes in the color of the skin and the whites of the eyes to yellow.
Fatty liver treatment

Treating steatosis/fatty liver usually depends on the type and cause. However, generally doctors will recommend that patients make healthier lifestyle changes while providing medication to treat the causes of fatty liver. Some of the treatments and healthy lifestyles recommended for fatty liver sufferers are::

  • Maintain ideal body weight or lose weight for obese patient.
  • Stop the habit of consuming alcoholic beverages.
  • Consuming vitamin E.
  • Taking thiazolidinediones under certain conditions.
  • Undergoing bariatric surgery or bariatric endoscopy procedures for fatty liver sufferers with morbid obesity.
  • Undergoing a liver transplant for patients who experience liver failure.
Fatty liver prevention

Some healthy lifestyles that need to be implemented as an effort to prevent fatty liver are as follows:

  • Limiting or quit consuming alcohol beverages.
  • Maintain ideal body weight.
  • Eat foods rich in nutrients and avoid foods that contain saturated fat, trans fat and refined carbohydrates.
  • Control blood sugar, triglyceride levels, and cholesterol levels.
  • For people with diabetes, follow the treatment plan recommended by your doctor.
  • Exercise regulary with minimum of 30 minutes every day

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