Effects of fatty liver are often thought to be reversible, however this is simply not the case. Fatty liver is the accumulation of fat in a liver cell and results in cellular changes that prevent the cell from functioning properly. Fatty liver is more common in people who are obese and experience no other associated health risks, but can develop at any time in their lives. Although fatty liver develops slowly, the effects are serious and progressive, eventually requiring surgery to remove the entire liver.
Effects of fatty liver on the body can range from mild to severe, with some effects beginning immediately and others appearing over time. Mild effects of fatty liver include weakness, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, depression, anxiety, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort. Some of these symptoms can improve if treatment is administered. Some individuals may even be able to return to a normal diet and resume normal activities within a few months, though others will need surgery to remove the entire liver and possibly extend the period of time needed to recover. NAFLD does not present any immediate negative health risks, but it does produce long-term complications and potentially serious health risks including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or kidney disease.
Effects of fatty liver are not limited to the body’s organs; they can also impact the brain, eyes, and joints. Fatty liver is the primary cause of arthritis in many patients and can lead to vision loss or other vision problems such as glaucoma. The symptoms of NAFLD often appear shortly after an episode of alcohol abuse and cirrhosis but can develop slowly over time. Over time, the damage caused by fatty liver can damage nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and joints. This can result in serious dysfunction and even permanent disability.
A person with NAFLD may be diagnosed as having cirrhosis (liver cancer) or fatty liver, depending on the stage of the condition. Cirrhosis of the liver is actually a symptom of NAFLD. If a patient is found to have NAFLD, the only treatment option will be removal of the liver through surgery. Removal of the liver is considered a last resort for treatment.
NAFLD symptoms are often ignored, since they do not interfere with daily life. A fatty liver does not prevent normal activities, though even cause pain. People with NAFLD sometimes do not experience the typical aches and pains that come along with old age and are often able to perform everyday tasks without the assistance of an aide. One of the effects of fatty liver on the body is the decrease of the production of new cells and tissue. As a result, the body becomes more susceptible to infections and the chance of developing cancer increases.
NAFLD may affect anyone, but those who have it are at high risk for certain kinds of cancers. The effects of fatty liver on the body may also cause damage to the brain and cardiovascular system. Some people even develop organ and kidney diseases due to fatty liver, which may be fatal if not treated quickly. It is important to note that in most cases, the effects of fatty liver do not appear right away. They slowly build up over time, causing more damage to the liver, until there is nothing left to save.
Since the effects of fatty liver on the body can lead to death, it is imperative that anyone affected by it undergoes medical treatment. This includes treatment for NAFLD-type liver disease and the treatment of cirrhosis and any other liver diseases. Even though it is an incurable condition, there are treatments available for it. Most medical professionals believe that a combination of prescription drugs and nutritional therapy is the best way to treat this condition.
Any person afflicted with NAFLD must also avoid alcohol, in order to minimize effects of fatty liver on the body. Alcohol has been proven to aggravate the condition, so one should drink as moderately as possible. In addition, one should make sure to take vitamins and supplements regularly in order to keep the liver healthy and functioning properly.