Monday, December 12, 2016

Understanding Fatty Liver Disease.

Introduction: Fatty liver is a term used to define a condition in which too much fat is stored in the liver. Some fat in the liver is normal but if it makes up more than 5%-10% of the organ's weight, it may lead to a condition known as fatty liver disease.

Fatty liver disease is increasingly common around the world, especially in Western nations. In the United States, it is the most common form of chronic liver disease, affecting an estimated 80 to 100 million people.

The liver is the second largest organ in the body. The liver’s function is to process everything we eat or drink and filter any harmful substances from the blood. This process is interrupted if too much fat is in the liver.

In people who drink little or no alcohol, the condition is sometimes known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease  can occur in any age group but is mostly seen in people ages 40's and 50's and in those who are at high risk of heart disease because of underlying risk factors like obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Causes: It's not clear what causes fatty liver disease but it may run in families.

It's also more likely to happen to those who are middle-aged and overweight or obese. People like that often have high cholesterol and diabetes as well.

Other causes are:
  • Medications (steroids, tamoxifen, methotrexate)
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Autoimmune or inherited liver disease
  • Fast weight loss
  • Malnutrition
Some studies show that too much bacteria in the small intestine and other changes in the intestine may be linked to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Risk Factors : A wide range of diseases and conditions can increase the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, including:
  • High cholesterol
  • High levels of triglycerides in the blood
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity, particularly when fat is concentrated in the abdomen
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Under active thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Under active pituitary gland (hypopituitarism)