Fatty liver, medically known as hepatic steatosis, is a condition characterised by the accumulation of excess fat in liver cells. This fat buildup can impair the liver's ability to function properly, leading to potential health complications. There are two main types of fatty liver: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD).
1. NAFLD: This type occurs in individuals who do not consume excessive alcohol. Risk factors include obesity, insulin resistance (such as in type 2 diabetes), metabolic syndrome, and a sedentary lifestyle.
2. AFLD: Caused by excessive alcohol consumption, AFLD results from the liver's attempt to metabolise alcohol, leading to fat accumulation.
Fatty liver is often asymptomatic in its early stages. However, as the condition progresses, individuals may experience fatigue, abdominal discomfort, and vague symptoms associated with liver dysfunction.
At Mediclinic City Hospital, our experts work closely with the patients to provide a selected treatment for each individual suffering from fatty liver
1. Lifestyle Modifications:
The initial approach to treating fatty liver involves making healthy lifestyle changes:
- Diet: Adopting a balanced diet that's low in saturated fats, sugars and refined carbohydrates can help manage the condition.
- Weight loss: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can significantly reduce fat accumulation in the liver.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity improves insulin sensitivity and helps in shedding excess fat.
2. Management of Underlying Conditions:
If fatty liver is associated with conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol, managing these conditions can indirectly help improve the liver's health.
3. Alcohol Abstinence:
For individuals with AFLD, the most important step is to stop consuming alcohol. This allows the liver to recover and reduces the risk of further damage.
In some cases, medications may be prescribed to manage specific aspects of fatty liver:
- Insulin Sensitisers: These medications help improve insulin resistance and can benefit individuals with NAFLD.
- Antioxidants: Some antioxidants, such as vitamin E, have shown potential in reducing liver inflammation associated with fatty liver.
5. Regular Monitoring:
Regular check-ups and monitoring of liver function and overall health are crucial to assess the progress of treatment and make adjustments as needed.
6. Advanced Stages:
In advanced cases of fatty liver disease with significant liver damage (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH), additional interventions may be required, such as advanced medical treatments or, in severe cases, liver transplantation.
Preventing fatty liver involves maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, moderating alcohol consumption, and managing conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol.
In summary, fatty liver is a condition marked by the accumulation of fat in liver cells. Our experts at Mediclinic City Hospital provide a range of treatment options involving lifestyle changes, weight management, alcohol abstinence (for AFLD), and, in some cases, medications. Early intervention, lifestyle modifications, and proper medical guidance are key to managing fatty liver and preventing its progression to more severe stages.