An excess of the build-up of fats in the cells of the liver leads to fatty liver. It is a condition which at times does not show any symptoms and they are accidentally diagnosed at the time of routine blood check-ups of the affected individual. It is normally found when a person does an ultrasound scanning of the abdomen. Unfortunately, several people suffer from fatty liver disease. In fact, at present, more than 10 million cases of Fatty Liver are present per year in India. And, if you are wondering who are at risk of developing an undesirable fatty liver condition, think no further. Read on to learn all about it.
In this article, we will let you identify whether you are at the risk of developing fatty acid, as it is widespread and quite common in India.
Before we know who gets affected by, it is equally important to know what actually happens in this condition called ‘Fatty Liver’. Let’s have a look at it.
What Is Fatty Liver Disease?
Fatty liver is a condition when there is excessive deposition of fats within the liver.
The liver is the second largest organ of the human body performing many important functions. The liver is responsible for several functions, such as controlling storage and concentration of nutrients, such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, making proteins and clotting factors, and producing bile, a digestive compound. The liver is also majorly responsible for detoxification within the body.
There are four main stages of the liver condition:
- Early fatty liver (steatosis)
This condition occurs when there is a large harmless build-up of fat in the liver cells that may be diagnosed accidentally. This condition is reversible medically.
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
This is a more serious form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), where the liver has become inflamed.
In this condition, there is a persistent inflammation which causes scar tissue around the liver and nearby blood vessels, but the liver is still able to function normally.
This is the most severe stage, occurring after years of inflammation, where the liver shrinks and changes in its structure are observed.
This damage is permanent and can lead to liver failure (where your liver stops working properly) and liver cancer.
What Do You Experience When You Have A Fatty Liver?
Although many cases of fatty liver disease remain asymptomatic (without any symptoms). Some cases may present with following complaints.
- Pain in abdomen
- Fatigue / Lethargy
- Loss of appetite
Who Is At An Increased Risk Of Developing Fatty Liver?
Here are some categories and conditions of the people who are at a risk to develop a fatty liver.
- People With Obesity
People with an excess of weight gain are prone to develop a fatty liver, as such patients have a tendency of an excessive fat deposition not only on the body in general but also within various organs inside the body, such as the liver.
In adults, normal weight is defined as a BMI between 20 and 25 BMI units, overweight condition with BMI from 25 to 30, obesity with BMI from 30 to 35, significant obesity with BMI from 35 to 40, morbid obesity with BMI from 40 to 45, super obesity with BMI from 45 to 50, and super-morbid obesity with BMI greater than 50.
- Individuals Consuming Alcohol
Intake of alcohol on a daily basis is a major contributing factor towards the development of a fatty liver. Although bodily response plays a major part in the severity to which the liver can be affected, it varies from person to person.
- High Blood Pressure Patients
People with high blood pressure are susceptible to Fatty Liver disease. Hypertensive patients with raised liver enzymes are prone to the same. Hence routine Liver Function Tests are advised in patients with high blood pressure to confirm the presence of fatty liver.
- Patients With High Blood Sugar
Diabetes raises your risk of developing liver diseases, which occurs due to the excess of fat deposition in the liver. This condition occurs in at least half of those with Type 2 diabetes according to medical research.
- High Cholesterol Patients
Most of the cholesterol in the body is made in the liver. There are Two types of cholesterol i.e. LDL and HDL
- HDL is also known as good cholesterol, as it helps the liver to break down unwanted cholesterol and eliminate it.
- LDL is known as bad cholesterol, as excess levels of the same in the body are toxic leading to liver damage as well.
Also Read:- Diet For Fatty Liver Disease
- People With Family History Of The Condition
A family history of auto-immune diseases is a favorable factor towards disease development. Genetic link to advanced fatty liver disease is confirmed by new studies. Researchers have found that patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) carry a gene which has an increased risk of developing advanced disease, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), fibrosis, and cirrhosis in their children.
- Sedentary Lifestyle Following Individuals
A sedentary lifestyle with lack of physical activity is the perfect recipe for numerous diseases, including fatty liver. Such a lifestyle can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar levels, and obesity, which are the other major factors leading to fatty liver. All these conditions are interlinked and hence needs to be dealt with extreme caution.
Early cases of Fatty liver disease are reversible in nature with medications like homeopathy treatment, although it can also lead to complications like liver cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated and unresolved for years. Hence it is highly important to be aware of the condition and be wise to treat it in the initial stages.
So, now that you know these factors which can put you to the risk of developing a fatty liver, make sure you avoid them and enjoy a healthy and happy life.
Written by Dr. Neethu Krishnan, Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah