Fatty liver disease: Seven tell-tale signs indicating you have too much fat in your liver

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FATTY liver disease comes in two main forms. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the term for a range of conditions caused by a build-up of fat in the liver. You can also get alcohol-related liver disease, which is liver damage that is caused by drinking too much alcohol. Although the condition is often marked by an absence of symptoms, there are certain signs to look out for.

The Cleveland Clinic says that the symptoms of fatty liver disease often do not show until the disease progresses to cirrhosis of the liver, which is when scarring of the liver occurs.

The organisation says that if you do have symptoms, they may include abdominal pain or a feeling of fullness in the upper right side of the abdomen.

It notes that you may also experience nausea, loss of appetite or weight loss.

Other people will develop yellowish skin and whites of the eyes because of jaundice, or a swollen abdomen and legs, have extreme tiredness or mental confusion and weakness.

The site warns that you should consider fatty liver disease an “early warning sign” to “help you avoid a fatal liver condition”, like cirrhosis or liver cancer.

“Even if you don’t have symptoms or any liver function problems at this point, it’s still important to take steps to stop or reverse fatty liver disease,” it suggests.

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.

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

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

“Early-stage NAFLD does not usually cause any harm, but it can lead to serious liver damage, including cirrhosis, if it gets worse,” the NHS website states.

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.

If detected and managed at an early stage, NAFLD can be stopped from getting worse and the amount of fat in your liver can be reduced.

The Mayo Clinic says you should make an appointment with your doctor if you have persistent signs and symptoms that cause you concern.

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’s not currently any medicine that can treat NAFLD, but various medicines can be useful in managing the problems associated with the condition.

If detected and managed at an early stage, NAFLD can be stopped from getting worse and the amount of fat in your liver can be reduced.

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.

According to the British Liver Trust, people are more likely to develop fatty liver disease for a number of reasons.

This can include if they have an unhealthy diet or their weight is in the overweight or obese range.

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