Fatty liver disease describes a range of conditions which lead to build-up of fat within liver cells. It can occur due to alcohol abuse (alcoholic steatohepatitis) or due to non-alcoholic causes (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD). It is common and the incidence in India is increasing. Most people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease do not develop serious liver problems. In some people, the build-up of fat in the liver can lead to serious liver disease. Everyone with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems (heart attacks and stroke).
Risk factors for developing NAFLD:
2. Diabetes Mellitus
3. High levels of blood fats (hyperlipidaemia)
There is no simple test that can confirm NAFLD. Blood tests like liver function tests (LFTs) measure the blood levels of certain chemicals (enzymes) made by the liver cells. An abnormal pattern of LFTs may suggest that NAFLD.
A scan of the liver (Ultrasound, CT, MRI) can be helpful. However, a scan cannot definitely diagnose NAFLD.
If there is doubt about the diagnosis, a specialist may arrange a small sample (biopsy) to be taken from your liver. This can be looked at under the microscope and can show the extent of any fatty accumulation, inflammation, scarring, etc, in the liver.
Prevention and reversal:
Reducing ‘lifestyle’ risk factors (avoiding smoking, keeping your weight in check, regular exercise and eating a healthy balanced diet)
If you have diabetes, good control of your blood sugar (glucose) level is thought to help reduce the risk of NAFLD becoming worse. Likewise treatment of increased lipid levels can help in decreasing NAFLD.
It is also advised that you do not drink any alcohol. NAFLD (by definition) is not caused by alcohol. However, even modest amounts of alcohol may make NAFLD worse.
Role of liver transplantation:
Majority of people do not proceed to serious liver problem. However, if liver has damaged to the point of no return (end stage liver disease) liver transplantation may be required.
Name : Dr. NEERAJ CHAUDHARY
Qualification : MBBS, MS, DNB (SURGICAL GASTROENTEROLOGY)
Designation : CONSULTANT
Deprtment : Liver Transplant & Surgical Gastro