Liver disease: Doctor discusses causes and symptoms
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Fatty liver mainly targets people who are “overweight” or “obese”. The early stages of this condition don’t usually cause any harm. But having higher levels of fat in the liver can lead to health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Here is one sign that could help you spot that the condition has progressed.
A healthy liver should contain only a little amount of fat, the Cleveland Clinic reports.
When the fat starts representing five to 10 percent of your liver, it becomes a “problem”.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can hike your risk of serious health problems.
Fortunately, early detection and management can help stop the condition from getting worse, according to the NHS.
Symptoms of fatty liver disease include yellowing of the skin and eyes.
This sign is also known as jaundice.
Jaundice is caused by the build-up of a yellow substance called bilirubin in your body.
The NHS advises getting “urgent medical help” if you experience this symptom.
Mayo Clinic reports that jaundice is more common during the advanced stages of the disease, such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cirrhosis.
NASH is one of the four main stages of fatty liver disease, characterised by liver inflammation.
While cirrhosis describes “the most severe stage” that happens after years of inflammation.
During this stage, your liver shrinks and gets scarred and lumpy. This permanent damage can lead to liver failure or liver cancer, the NHS states.
In case you’re not aware, other symptoms of NASH and cirrhosis include:
- Abdominal swelling
- Enlarged blood vessels just beneath the skin’s surface
- Enlarged spleen
- Red palms.
As these symptoms are characteristic for the later stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the condition can be tricky to spot at the beginning.
You might not realise you have it at the beginning unless it’s spotted during tests done for another reason, the NHS explains.
The good news is that most people won’t develop any serious problems.
The NHS recommends taking up lifestyle changes to prevent the condition from “getting any worse”.
From following a healthy diet to losing weight, simple modifications can make a difference.
And although non-alcoholic fatty liver disease isn’t caused by alcohol, drinking can still make it worse.
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