Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Condition may cause enlarged liver – two signs to spot

NHS Choices: Liver Disease

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There are different types of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Simple fatty liver disease means a person has fat in their liver or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis which is much more serious. When this occurs, the liver becomes enlarged with two accompanying symptoms.

Fatty liver disease usually doesn’t cause any symptoms, and most people don’t know they have it until they get a blood test.

However, some people have fatigue, mild abdominal pain, or an enlarged liver that their doctor can feel during a physical exam.

When enlarged liver results from liver disease, it might be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

Why this occurs

The liver breaks down nutrients and filters toxins out of the body, which it does with the help of enzymes, said Medical News Today.

The heallth site continued: “Transaminitis, sometimes called hypertransaminasemia, refers to having high levels of certain liver enzymes called transaminases.

“When you have too many enzymes in the liver, they start to move into the blood stream.

“Some people also have temporarily high levels of liver enzymes without any underlying cause.

“However, because transaminitis can by a symptom of serious conditions, such as liver disease or hepatitis, it’s important to rule out any potential causes.”

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An enlarged liver is one that’s bigger than normal with the medical term being hepatomegaly.

Rather than a disease, an enlarged liver is a sign of an underlying problem, such as liver disease.

Treatment involves identifying and controlling the cause of the condition.

The British Liver Trust warns if you experience the following symptoms you must see a doctor straight away, especially if you have recently been diagnosed with cirrhosis:

Fever with high temperatures and shivers, often caused by an infection

Shortness of breath

Vomiting blood

Very dark or black tarry stools (faeces)

Periods of mental confusion or drowsiness.

The exact causes of NAFLD aren’t well understood however there appears to be a connection between the disease and insulin resistance.

When the body develops insulin resistance, it means their cells don’t respond to insulin the way they should.

As a result, too much fat ends up in the liver and this can lead to inflammation and liver scarring.

People likely to develop insulin resistance include people who are overweight or lead a sedentary lifestyle therefore by improving your diet and ensuring you are getting the required amount of physical activity; you could help improve the condition.
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