Fatty liver is the first stage of the condition NAFLD (Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease). NAFLD is not caused by alcohol, but drinking alcohol may make the condition worse. One European study found that the prevalence of NAFLD to be around 94% in people with BMI more than 30kg/m2 and 64% in those who are overweight.
NAFLD is a term used for a range of conditions caused by a buildup of fat in the liver, usually in people who are overweight or obese.
Stages of NAFLD include:
- Simple fatty liver
- Non Alcoholic Steato Hepaptitis (NASH)
- The last stage of cirrhosis is the most severe stage. Liver is scarred and there is permanent damage to the liver resulting in liver failure and in some people, they may even develop liver cancer.
What are the symptoms and signs of Fatty liver?
Most people who are diagnosed to have fatty liver have no symptoms. Fatty liver is usually diagnosed while having routine blood tests and scans for other conditions.
People with NAFLD may have undue tiredness, weakness and right-sided abdominal pain or tenderness.
What medical conditions are associated with NAFLD?
People suffering from NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease) may have several other medical problems, which are related to increased weight, these include:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnoea
- PCOS (polycystic Ovary Syndrome in women)
- Erectile dysfunction
How is NAFLD diagnosed?
Diagnosis of NAFLD is done by performing a blood test and a scan.
We will arrange the most advanced and evidence-based diagnostic methods to diagnose NAFLD. We will arrange an Enhanced Liver Fibrosis (ELF) test, which is preferred by National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines. We would also be able to arrange to determine your FIB4 score, NAFLD score and fibroscan. If required a gastroenterologist would be involved during the program.
How is NAFLD treated?
Definitive treatment in the early stages is weight management. In addition to weight loss other weight-related medical conditions as mentioned above should also be addressed. It is important to significantly restrict or abstain from alcohol.
In the later stages, liver transplant may be considered.
What happens when NAFLD is not treated?
If you are overweight and have abnormal liver function test, you may have NAFLD. Weight loss will improve this condition.
However if fatty liver is not treated and your liver function remains abnormal, there is a chance of NAFLD progressing to Non-Alcoholic Steato Hepatitis (NASH) and thereafter to cirrhosis of the liver.
People with cirrhosis or scarring of the liver may not have any early symptoms. However, in the later stages people with cirrhosis may experience nausea, vomiting, tiredness, yellowing of the skin and a swollen tummy. Treatment of cirrhosis of the liver depends on the stage of the cirrhosis. The aim of treatment is to prevent any further worsening and to reverse any damage if this is possible. Treatment in the later stages is also directed at treating any life-threatening complications.
If you have been diagnosed to have fatty liver or have any other stage of NASH and wish to get support with weight management, please contact us for more details on our specialist weight management program.
Watch our video on Weight Loss for Fatty Liver Disease