Fatty liver disease: Signs on your hands and nails – third of people in ‘early stages’

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The American liver foundation says that if more than five to 10 percent of the liver’s weight is fat, then it is called a fatty liver. Some people get fatty liver disease without having any pre-existing conditions. If you develop severe cirrhosis, stage four fatty liver disease, and your liver stops working properly, you may need to be put on the waiting list for a liver transplant. There are often no signs in the early stages, but some symptoms may arise.

The Gastro Clinic says there are several symptoms on your hands which may develop.

These include “red palms and nail beds turning white” as well as yellowing of the skin and in the whites of the eyes or discomfort in the centre or right upper portion of the abdomen.

The Mayo Clinic adds NAFLD usually causes no signs and symptoms but when it does, they may include fatigue.

It says: “Make an appointment with your doctor if you have persistent signs and symptoms that cause you concern.”

The British Liver Trust says: “The good news is that NAFLD can usually be stopped and even reversed by eating a well-balanced diet, being more physically active, and (if needed) losing weight.”

It notes that the less damage your liver has, the easier it is likely to be to reverse, “but even if there is significant damage the liver can repair itself to some degree”.

Indeed, there is no specific medical treatment for NAFLD that all doctors agree on.

In early stage NAFLD your doctor may also concentrate on treating or managing any other conditions you have such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, the organisation notes.

People with a liver condition who develop dark black tarry faeces, or dark urine, should seek “urgent medical attention”, adds the Trust.

Other serious symptoms include vomiting blood, bruising easily, itching skin and swelling of the lower tummy area.

The British Liver Trust says: “You might only find out you have a fatty liver when it is diagnosed during tests for another health problem.”

Treatment for alcohol related fatty liver disease involves stopping drinking alcohol. The NHS says that if you have fatty liver disease, the damage may be reversed if you abstain from alcohol for at least two weeks.

People are more likely to develop NAFLD as a result of a number of factors. For example, if you are insulin resistant, as people can be when they have polycystic ovary syndrome.

Having high levels of fat in your liver is also associated with an increased risk of other health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.

The NHS explains: “NAFLD is often diagnosed after a blood test called a liver function test produces an abnormal result and other liver conditions, such as hepatitis, are ruled out.”

But blood tests do not always pick up NAFLD. As the NHS explains, the condition may also be spotted during an ultrasound scan of your tummy. This is a type of scan where sound waves are used to create an image of the inside of your body.

Experts don’t know exactly why some people accumulate fat in the liver while others do not.

Similarly, there is limited understanding of why some fatty livers develop inflammation that progresses to cirrhosis.

However, chronic disease markers have been associated with the development of NAFLD.

According to the Mayo Clinic, NAFLD is linked to high blood sugar or high levels of fats, particularly triglycerides, in the blood.

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