Fatty liver disease, a.k.a. Hepatic steatosis is quite common in various parts of the world and affects lots of people. Usually, this disease is associated with type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other similar ailments. If this disease is not treated at the initial stages, it could result in serious condition and other health issues.
Different Stages Of Fatty Liver Disease. How To Take Care Of It?
In this disease, fat starts accumulating in the liver. Fats in a lower amount will not affect your health negatively, but having too much of it can lead to harmful results. It can cause liver inflammation, scarring, and failure.
This disease can occur in those who drink large amounts of alcohol regularly. They are known to have Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AFLD). Then, some people are not alcoholics. They would suffer from Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
Fatty Liver disease can occur in four main stages. Each stage has a different impact and level of severity. Let’s have a look at them.
Different Stages of Fatty Liver Disease
- Simple Fatty Liver
As the name suggests, it is a simple form of the condition where excess fat starts building in the liver. It is also known as Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). At this stage, while the excess fat will begin to accumulate in your liver, there will be almost no inflammation or damage to the liver cell. It is quite common for people who suffer from certain health conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and any other health situation that might relate to these two conditions. When you don’t do heavy alcohol drinking, and still have excess fat in your liver, it will be the case of a simple fatty liver or NAFLD. There will be no inflammation or scarring.
At this stage, there will be both excess fat and inflammation in the liver. When you have excess fat accumulated in your liver in addition to the liver inflammation, your doctor might diagnose you with Steatohepatitis. It can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic, based on how much you drink alcohol. If you do not get treatment for fatty liver and liver inflammation, it could lead to severe conditions of liver cell damage, cirrhosis, and failure of your liver.
- Liver Fibrosis
With excess fat and inflammation in the liver, it can cause scarring. Liver fibrosis takes place when your healthy liver tissue becomes scarred and also cannot function. Fibrosis can be considered as the first stage of liver scarring, which can later become more serious. Fatty Liver Disease can cause liver inflammation, cell damage, and scarring. When the condition goes untreated for a long time, it results in liver fibrosis where scar tissue grows and starts replacing healthy tissue in the liver.
Liver fibrosis can lead to a decline in the level of flow of blood all through the liver. Furthermore, when healthy tissue becomes scarred, the liver also stops functioning. This condition should not be left untreated, or it could result in liver failure, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
At this stage, the scarring of the liver will spread. It can be a life-threatening situation and can lead to failure of your liver. In some cases, it might be too late to get the treatment. So this condition needs to be prevented. There is no specific symptom to realize that you are suffering from cirrhosis. It might depend on the condition of the individuals. This condition might prove to be fatal.
How to Take Care of Fatty Liver Disease?
As of now, research is being done to develop medications for this disease, and no approved medicine is available in the market. As a result, it becomes important to have a lifestyle that can help you prevent this condition. For instance, you need to control your alcohol consumption to a healthy level, lose excess weight, make healthier changes in your diet, and more.
If there is added complication in your fatty liver condition, your doctor might recommend you more treatments such as medication or surgical procedure. If you are at the last stage of this disease, i.e., cirrhosis, it could lead to liver failure. Thus, you might need a liver transplant procedure. Changes in lifestyle and diet can help in lowering the risk of complications and added treatments.