Fatty liver is one of the most serious conditions that can develop in humans. Fatty liver means that there are too much fat and cholesterol in the bloodstream. The liver produces an excess amount of lipids and these are deposited on various parts of the human body such as in the abdominal cavity, the skin, neck, kidneys, and heart. These deposits gradually become bigger over time and can eventually block the passage of chemicals through the blood and reduce the functioning of internal organs. Fatty liver is therefore a very serious condition.
Fatty liver can occur with the consumption of large amounts of alcohol, fatty or sugary food, and other dietary factors. Obesity is also a predisposing factor for fatty liver. Although hereditary may play an important role in the development of fatty liver, researchers have noted that fatty liver does not usually occur with individuals who consume large amounts of alcohol or with people who are obese. This fact implies that the condition can easily be remedied by reducing the intake of fatty foods.
One of the many fatty liver disease symptoms is abdominal pain. In addition to this, fatigue and constant tiredness may also be experienced. If these symptoms are left untreated, fatty liver disease can progress to more serious conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver, which is very common. When liver failure progresses to this stage, it can cause death. It should therefore be treated immediately.
Another symptom of this disease is mild to moderate abdominal discomfort and pain which can at times be felt at the upper portion of the abdomen. In advanced stages of the disease, fatty liver pain can extend to the groin area and even to the thighs. When the disease progresses to this level, more severe and unpredictable abdominal pains can be experienced. This symptom can lead to the need for surgery.
Fatty liver has a genetic predisposition. Although non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (also called NAFLD) has been reported with very little genetic predisposition, researchers have found that about 15 percent of people with non-alcoholic NAFLD have a genetic predisposition for fatty liver. The condition can progress when fatty liver cells are infected with viruses such as hepatitis B or C, or when they grow too fast in the body. Hepatitis can cause inflammation of liver cells, which is one of the causes of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Another interesting fact about this liver disease is that it develops only when the organ is damaged. When the organ is not functioning properly, damage to the organ cannot be repaired. As a result, scar tissues form around the fatty liver as the disease progresses.
A fatty liver may occur when serious alcohol abuse is present. A fatty liver may appear suddenly and last for many years without a single episode of severe alcoholic abuse. Otherwise, a fatty liver may develop slowly over a period of time. The symptoms of fatty liver may include high cholesterol, gallstones, elevated triglycerides and increased levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL).
A fatty liver can be either simple or complex. A simple fatty liver may contain only bilirubin, albumin or both. A complex fatty liver disease is characterized by cholesterol deposition, fibrosis, steatosis, excess cholesterol in blood vessels, or inflammation. Steatosis or polydipsia refers to accumulation of excess deposits of cholesterol. A grade 1 and a grade 2 fatty liver may be caused by chronic liver disease but many cases of fat accumulation in the liver are caused by severe alcohol abuse.
Alcohol abuse causes certain changes in the liver that cause pain. Fatty liver disease usually affects the liver area, the endocrine system and the nerves. Alcohol causes a marked decrease in bile production and an acceleration in the rate of protein synthesis. Alcohol ingestion also stimulates the secretion of bile acids from the liver, resulting in the accumulation of cholesterol and gallstones in the bile duct. Alcohol causes severe damage to the pancreatic islet cells and to the pancreatic islet cell function. Hepatic dysfunction, premature aging, immunological disorders and injuries to the liver area all contribute to liver disease.
Chronic liver disease, especially hepatitis B and C infections, is the major cause of liver pain. Most patients with liver disease complain about abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. Other symptoms include anemia, dehydration, muscle weakness, muscle cramps, skin rashes, altered thinking and mental status, seizures and fever. Some patients may also suffer from serious side effects such as jaundice, hyperactivity, skin rash, seizures, irritability and more.
Fatty liver disease is diagnosed by performing blood tests and microscopic examination of the organs. Sometimes, fatty liver pain can be caused by inflammatory processes or by accumulation of fluids in the organ. Fatty layers of the organ can be removed by surgery or other treatments. It is important to eliminate all possible causes of the pain. Once the cause of the pain is identified, it can be treated.