The CMRI Liver Clinic offers comprehensive care, diagnosis and treatments from highly qualified and experienced specialists with state-of-the-art technology specifically developed and approved for managing patients with liver disease.
Urban population has a higher tendency to suffer from Fatty Liver. Take care of your Liver!
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) occur due to the accumulation of excess fat in the liver where alcohol has a minimum or no role to play. Surprisingly, lean people are also prone to developing NASH. In fact, at present, the incidence of liver dysfunction because of NAFLD and NASH is on the rise in India and also worldwide. At a nascent stage, this disease is known as simple fatty liver or steatosis which affects mostly obese or overweight people. Gradually, the simple fatty liver becomes harmful, with inflammation and associated liver injury, and ultimately develop cirrhosis where scarring of liver tissue results in complete liver failure. Liver diseases come with prevalent comorbidities like hypertension, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases.
What are the Causes?
NAFLD often falls under the category of metabolic syndrome characterized by diabetes, or pre-diabetes (insulin resistance), being overweight or obese, altered blood lipids such as HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as high blood pressure. While exact causes of NASH remain vague, most researchers attribute it to increase in oxidative stress, liver cell necrosis and release of toxic inflammatory proteins. However, these occur principally due to prolonged insulin resistance and obesity. Extra fatty diet, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, shift from a traditional Indian diet to a calorie-heavy westernized diet, consumption of fried food and on-the-go fast food eventually brings about fat buildup in the body. Predominantly liver is one of the first organs to get affected by fat deposits.
Alternatively, certain medicines cause liver diseases as well. Drug-induced hepatic injury is very common in Europe and USA. In fact, paracetamol is one such regularly used drug that is detrimental to liver in overdoses. Everyone must check with their doctors before taking any medicine. Additionally, it is important to avoid drugs which a patient is allergic to. Scrutinizing family medical records for a prevalence of such allergy to any inducing medicine is immensely beneficial for the patient’s holistic well-being.
What are the Symptoms?
As per a recent WHO report obesity is shown to be growing rampantly globally. India already being the diabetic capital is under serious threat of liver diseases. Often fatty liver leading to cirrhosis initiates several critical conditions like,
- Shrunken liver
- Internal bleeding
- Swelling in tummy
- Pain in the upper right side of the abdomen
Apart from enlarged liver, jaundice is one more major pointer of symptomatic NAFLD, among other diseases. Although NASH seems mostly asymptomatic and difficult to detect, it has sneaky symptoms like fatigue, weight loss, and weakness that appear in later stages as the disease progresses and cirrhosis develops. Liver inflammation and liver cell damage, along with fatty liver are direct consequences of NASH. Late diagnosis will definitely push it to end-stage liver diseases like cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, which may occur even in absence of cirrhosis.
What are the possible Diagnosis and Treatments?
Ultrasonography, Computerized Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), several blood tests and liver biopsy are done for through diagnosis. Doctors enquire about the patient’s family history, medical history, drug usage, alcohol intake, smoking habits, lifestyle patterns etc. Immediately, doctors recommend massive change in lifestyle starting with effective weight loss therapy, required medications, prescribed diet, and regular follow-ups. Weight loss diminishes the fat in the liver, inflammation, and fibrosis. Medications may limit further damage to liver cells caused by hepatitis B or C and may delay or prevent cirrhosis. But, if the patient is suffering from end-stage cirrhosis where the liver is dysfunctional, liver transplant is often the only solution.
Some Myths and Misconceptions
- Not only the obese, overweight, and middle-aged people succumb to liver diseases, even the young, lean, and seemingly healthy millennials who work out to stay fit can be prone to it. If along with their regular gym sessions, they are consistently consuming fried food and alcohol, then burning extra calories won’t help. It will only delay the onset of liver diseases. These people may suffer from fatty liver even before detecting any of its symptoms. The disease remains silent for a long period of time. The best recommendation is to entirely do away with the unhealthy lifestyle.
- Smoking and chewing tobacco doesn’t directly cause liver damage, they rather affect the lungs. Nevertheless, they hasten the liver damage process over time.
- Choosing wine over beer won’t save your liver! All forms of alcohol make the liver susceptible to diseases. Especially binge drinking within a short time span exacerbates the liver injury. A recent study have shown that both beer and wine drinker may end up having liver diseases.
- Another major myth is that fasting leads to liver diseases. Different religions have different customs of fasting. However, doctors endorse controlled fasting. Moreover, the patient should be cautious about his/her own bodily needs. Uncontrolled fasting often results in fatty liver disease.
What are the Precautions?
- Some steps Being careful about the daily lifestyle, consulting doctor before taking any non-prescription medication, drinking in moderation, and checking on enzyme levels periodically are some of the steps every person should follow. Avoiding being complacent and going for regular health check-ups will bring long-term benefits.
- Obese and overweight people should always be aware of to their liver. Even if they practice restraint during drinking, other related causes like diabetes, high cholesterol or triglycerides, high blood pressure may easily trigger steatohepatitis and liver damage.
- Suddenly altering lifestyle at the end-stages of cirrhosis won’t help the patient. One should be responsible for their lifestyle early on, so that the recovery process starts effectively at the primary stage