Fatty liver is a liver disease caused by the accumulation of triglycerides in the liver. The liver tissue is partially invaded following excessive amount of triglycerides in the blood, which are deposited gradually. Two types of events can occur: if the liver tissue is converted into fat, it is call degeneration. If the tissue is simply covered with greasy elements, it is called infiltration. Steatosis in humans is generally benign. This phenomenon often occurs in chronic alcoholics. A diet high in fat is also responsible. Other causes of steatosis are an enzyme malfunction, excess sugar or the taking of certain medications. The development of steatosis is possible in the case of liver cirrhosis
In most cases, this disease is not responsible for any symptom. On a small scale, the patient may see:
- an increased liver volume;
- a feeling of discomfort in the abdomen, above the liver;
- sensitivity of the liver upon palpation.
The diagnosis of fatty liver is made through palpation discovers. An ultrasound or scan will help to identify fatty deposits in the body. A blood test will often be added to make an early diagnosis of a possible progression to cirrhosis
The treatment of steatosis depends on the cause of the disease, but diet plays a prominent role. Weight loss is essential, with a proper diet and regular exercise. If the patient is diabetic, treatment will be adjusted and glycemic control better enforced. Alcohol should be prohibited so as to avoid a rapid progression to cirrhosis. Foods that are high in fat should be restricted as much as possible or removed from one's diet. If steatosis is due to certain medications, the prescription of the latter will be suspended.
To prevent fatty liver, there is nothing better than a healthy lifestyle. Alcohol is the main cause of fatty liver, and should thus be consumed in moderation. A healthy diet rich in fiber and low in fat is essential, as is the practice of regular physical activity.