Different Stages Of Fatty Liver Disease. How To Take Care Of It?

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Fatty liver

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.

Fatty liver

Different Stages of Fatty Liver Disease

  1. 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.

  1. Steatohepatitis

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Cirrhosis

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.

Dr. John Augustine received his BA from Harvard College magna cum laude in 1987 and his Ph.D. and MD degrees from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1992 and 1993. He was then an intern and resident in Internal Medicine at the Yale-New Haven Hospital from 1993-1995. From 1995-1998, John was a clinical associate at the National Cancer Institute. He joined the faculty of the Duke University Medical Center in 2008 as Chief of Rheumatology at the Durham VA Hospital, a position he held until the end of 2017. He served as Chief of Rheumatology and Immunology at Duke from 2003-2008. He has conducted basic and translational research in the field of autoimmunity. He was focusing on the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and the immunological properties of nuclear macromolecules, including DNA. More recently, he has investigated the immune activities of HMGB1, a nuclear protein with alarmin activity, as well as microparticles. These studies have provided new insights into the translocation of atomic molecules during cell activation and cell death and the mechanisms by which cell death can influence innate immunity.

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