Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Liver is an important component of the human digestive system. Proper functioning of various body systems ensures healthy life and provides us strength. Dysfunction or disorder of any body organ leads to development of diseases. Liver may be infected by viruses or body’s own immune system and produce certain adverse conditions. These conditions may also be result of other medical conditions, excessive use of alcohol etc. In the succeeding paragraphs, we will elaborate on liver disorder that is not caused by alcohol consumption.
Description of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
The term ‘Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease’ denotes that the liver disorder caused by the people who are non-drinkers or consume little alcohol.
The cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are more in women when compared to men cases. This liver disorder can affect people of any age group. Generally, occurrence of non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases is observed more in obese (overweight) people, people with elevated cholesterol levels, suffering from diabetes and people with elevated triglyceride levels. It is also referred to as ‘NAFLD’ in medical terms.
Causes behind occurrence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
The exact causes responsible for development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have not been established yet. Researches are on to establish the causes. However, some researchers consider that cluster of disorders which increases the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke may be the factor behind development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Different forms of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
There are number of forms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Steatosis (simple fatty liver) is considered as the mildest form of this liver disease. It denotes the accumulation of fat in the liver. Normally, this accumulation does not lead to liver damage.
Steatohepatitis is considered as the serious form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This condition is characterized by formation of fibrous tissue (which occurs occasionally) and liver inflammation which can cause damage to the liver. In certain serious cases, the Steatohepatitis may lead to more serious complications such as liver cancer and cirrhosis.
Symptoms of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Usually, there are no symptoms during the early stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, one may experience symptoms like malaise, mild abdominal pain (in upper right side) and fatigue.
Following are some of the common symptoms experienced during advanced stage.
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weight loss without any known cause
- Easy bruising
- Appearance of small veins under skin
- Bleeding engorged esophageal or intestinal veins
- Lack of sex desire
- Retention of fluid in abdomen
- Swollen feet and legs
- Intense itching of hands, legs or full body
Diagnosis of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Occurrence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is detected while examining the results of liver tests, which may not be even conducted for diagnosing this condition.
Treatment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Treating the root cause behind development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is best way of getting relief from it. Available options include improved control over diabetes, weight loss, use of medications for lowering cholesterol levels and exercise.