The liver, which is one of the largest organs in the body, is very complex and performs many important functions.These include:
The liver works very hard to keep the body healthy and,most often,it does not give any warning signs to let you know that it is damaged. Certain conditions that develop, such as fatty liver disease and steatohepatitis,may be signs of liver injury and can lead to permanent liver damage, which must be taken seriously.
As the name suggests, fatty liver disease occurs when there is a build-up of excess fat in the cells of the liver.It is normal for your liver to contain some fat. But, if fat accounts for more than 5-10% of your liver's weight, then you have a fatty liver. This can lead to more serious complications.
Fatty liver disease may cause no damage, but sometimes the presence of excess fat leads to the inflammation of the liver. This condition, which is called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH, causes liver damage. An inflamed liver may become scarred and hardened over time. This condition, which is called cirrhosis, is serious and often leads to liver failure.NASH is one of the top three leading causes of cirrhosis.
ABOUT 10-20% OF INDIANS HAVE FATTY LIVER DISEASE
ABOUT 2-5% HAVE NASH
A fatty liver produces no symptoms on its own. So,people often learn that they have a fatty liver when they go for medical tests for other reasons. NASH can damage your liver over years or even decades without causing any symptoms.If the disease gets worse,you may experience weakness, weight loss, fatigue, swelling of the abdomen or edema feet, vomiting (blood),or even confusion. People can have NASH for many years without symptoms, even though liver damage may still be occurring.
Your hepatologist (liver specialist) may see something unusual in your blood test or notice that your liver is slightly enlarged during a routine check-up. These could be signs of a fatty liver.To make sure you don't have any other liver disease,your hepatologist (liver specialist) may ask for more blood tests, an ultrasound,a CT scan or even an MRI. If other diseases are ruled out,you may be diagnosed with NASH. The only way to know for sure is to get a liver biopsy done. During a liver biopsy, the hepatologist (liver specialist) takes a sample of the liver tissue with a needle and examines it under a microscope. Liver biopsies are performed only when absolutely necessary.
If you have fatty liver disease or NASH, you should:
Appropriate medical or surgical treatment for fatty liver disease or NASH may be advised to help prevent or reverse liver damage.