Liver is the second largest organ in your body .It helps to process nutrients from food and drinks and filter harmful substances from your blood. Fatty liver disease appears when fat builds in the liver. Having small amounts of fat in your liver is normal, but increasing fat over liver can cause harm to your health.
Too much fat in your liver can cause liver inflammation,which can damage your liver and create scarring. In severe cases ,this scarring can lead to liver failure.
1) Non Alcoholic Fatty liver Disease (NAFLD)-
It is a type of fatty liver disease that is not related to heavy alcohol use.It has two types –
• Simple fatty liver –
In this type you have fat in your liver but little or no information or liver cell damage. It means simple fatty liver typically doesn’t get bad enough to cause liver damage or complications.
• Non alcoholic steatohepatitis(NASH) –
In this type you have inflammation and liver cell damage as well as fat in your liver. Inflammation and liver cell damage can cause fibrosis or scarring of liver. NASH may lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.
2) Alcoholic Fatty liver disease –
It is due to heavy alcohol use. Your liver breaks down most of the alcohol you drink ,so it can be removed from your body ,but the process of breaking it down can generate harmful substances. These substances can damage liver cells ,promote inflammation and weaken your body’s natural defenses , therefore more you drink the more you damage your liver and ultimately you reaches to stage of alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.
In most cases ,fatty liver causes no noticeable symptoms other than –
• Feel tired
• Experience discomfort or pain in the upper right side of your abdomen
But if you develop severe liver fibrosis , known as cirrhosis , following symptoms may appear –
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Nose bleeds
• Itchy skin
• Yellow skin and eyes
• Web like clusters of blood vessels under skin
• Abdominal pain and swelling
• Swelling of your legs
• Breast enlargement in men
• Drinking too much alcohol
• Insulin resistance
• High level of fat , especially triglycerides in your blood.
Less common causes –
• Rapid weight loss
• Some infection like Hepatitis C
• Exposure to certain toxins
• Side effects from some type of medications such as methotrexate , tamoxifen ,valproic acid
Stages of fatty Liver –
1) Simple fatty liver –
There is a build up of excess fat in the liver.
2) Steatohepatitis –
Liver gets inflammed in this stage in addition to excess fat.
3) Fibrosis –
At this stage inflammation of liver has caused scarring.
4) Cirrhosis –
It is life threatening condition where scarring of the liver has become widespread and it can cause liver failure.
1) Physical examination –
To check for liver inflammation your doctor may palpate or press on your abdomen ,if your liver is enlarged ,they might be able to feel it , however there is a possibility of liver inflammation without being enlarged.
2) Blood Test –
Fatty liver disease is diagnosed after blood tests show elevated liver enzymes e.g.Alanine aminotransferase test (ALT) & Aspartate aminotransferase test (AST). Elevated liver enzymes are a sign of liver inflammation.
3) Imaging Studies –
USG , CT scan & MRI scan
4) Liver Biopsy
Currently no medications have been approved to treat fatty liver disease. However following diet and lifestyle changes can help in reducing the risk of fatty liver –
• Lose weight
• Reduce your alcohol intake
• Eat a nutrient rich diet that’s low in excess calories, saturated fat and trans fats.
• Practice atleast 30 minutes of exercise daily.
• Eat a diet that’s rich in plant based foods including fruits , vegetables , legumes and whole grains.
• Limit your consumption of refined carbohydrates such as sweets ,white rice ,white bread ,other refined grain products.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
Ayurveda considers liver to be an important organ for metabolism playing a significant role in digesting ,metabolising , manufacturing essential compounds to keep the body healthy. Liver converts ras dhatu (plasma) to rakta dhatu (Blood) ,identifies toxins in ras dhatu ,stores them and not letting them enter in the blood. Liver is an important pitta dosha organ. The stored toxins in the liver can cause problems like digestive problems , fatigue , allergies,cold sores , constipation , hypoglycemia. Ignoring these diseases can result in serious problems like hepatitis, jaundice and cirrhosis.
• Guduchi –
It is best known herb to pacify all the three doshas for NAFLD management. It promotes tissue regeneration .It acts on digestive and circulatory systems.
• Bhumiamlaki –
It is especially recommended for the treatment of liver disease. It has astringent and stomachic properties.
• Kutki –
It has hepatoprotective properties that make it useful in the treatment of liver diseases.
• Haritaki –
It is useful to treat fatty liver caused due to obesity.
• Pippli –
It has aphrodisiacs and pain relieving properties .It is also effective over liver conditions liver cirrhosis ,fatty liver.
• Vasaguduchyadi kasaya
• Aarogyavardhini vati
• Swarnvasant Malti ras
• Giloy sat
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