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Fatty Liver Disease Most   of   us   take   liver   for   granted   yet   thousands   of   people   all   over   the   world   suffer   when excess   of   fat   builds   in   it   causing   “Fatty   Liver   Disease”.   If   untreated   it   will   lead   to   liver failure   progressing   to   a   fatal   outcome.   Many   do   not   realise   they   have   potential   problem as there are no symptoms for a long time. Types of Fatty Liver:   1 . Non-alcoholic fatty liver 2 . Alcoholic Fatty Liver Non-alcoholic    fatty    Liver:        Excessive    intake    of    fried    food    and    fatty    diet    for    a prolonged   period   can   lead   to   a   fatty   liver.   Obesity   may   also   contribute   to   fatty   liver. Many    with    fatty    liver    have    increased    triglycerides    and    may    also    be    diabetic. Occasionally   autoimmune   disease,   malnutrition,   certain   drugs   and   viral   hepatitis   can lead to the condition. Alcoholic   Fatty   Liver:    Excessive   intake   of   alcohol   is   the   commonest   cause   of   fatty   liver.   In   the   USA   it   is   estimated   that   15   million people consume excessive alcohol and almost all of them -- 90% to 100% -- develop fatty livers. Symptoms:    In   the   early   stages   you   may   have   no   symptoms. As   the   disease   progresses   you   may   develop   discomfort   in   the   right upper   part   of   abdomen.   Loss   of   appetite   and   tiredness   may   develop   soon.   Towards   the   end   a   condition   called   cirrhosis   when   the liver   is   scarred   and   becomes   hard. At   this   stage   you   may   experience   itching,   skin   bruises,   muscle   weakness,   vomiting   blood   and may become jaundiced. Ultimately ascites results when the abdomen gets filled with fluid. If   you   suffer   from   loss   of   appetite,   feeling   lethargic,   lost   a   lot   a   weight   without   a   reason,   notice   a   changed   colour   of   urine   or   stools you must seek urgent medical advice and must have your liver checked. Tests to make sure you have a healthy Liver: If   you   lead   a   healthy   life   style,   eating   the   right   kind   of   food   and   not   overindulging   in   alcohol   you   will   probably   have   nothing   to worry   about.   Still   as   part   of   a   routine   health   check   you   must   have   your   liver   checked   now   and   again. Anyone   over   the   age   of   50 should   have   a   test   to   confirm   that   the   liver   is   functioning   normally.   If   you   are   obese,   consume   a   large   amount   of   alcohol   or   you are on regular medication for some other condition you must have a test at least once a year. Liver   Function   Tests:       If   you   have   no   symptoms   but   would   like   to   have   your   liver   checked   as   part   of   a   routine   health   check   all that   you   will   need   is   a   simple   blood   test   to   check   for   the   levels   of   protein,   various   pigments   and   enzymes   associated   with   the liver.   The   enzymes   released   into   blood   by   the   damaged   liver   will   begin   to   rise   and   the   levels   of   proteins   (albumin   and   Globulin) that the liver produces begin to drop. The test checks for the following: bilirubin, albumin, globulin, total protein, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), alanine transferase (ALT) and aspartate transferase (AST). Other   Investigations:   Apart   from   the   Liver   Function   Test,   blood   should   also   be   checked   for   cholesterol,   triglycerides   and   sugar. These tests are done before you have had anything to eat or drink, atleast six hours after your last meal. If   the   blood   tests   suggest   possible   involvement   of   liver   you   may   need   additional   tests   like   an   ultra   sound,   CT   and   MRI   scan.   If   the scan   suggests   that   the   liver   is   affected   or   enlarged   and   you   have   significant   symptoms   your   doctor   may   then   request   biopsy   of the liver that is done under a local anaesthetic using a needle.  Prevention:         Preventing   liver   disease   is   as   simple   as   not   overindulging   in   alcohol   and   not   eating   a   diet   high   in   fat   or   calories.   If you   have   non-alcoholic   liver   disease,   there   is   no   specific   treatment   for   it.      But   it   can   be   corrected   by   losing   weight   and   changing the diet if you are obese, treating other conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol/triglycerides and under-performing thyroid.  Remember,   unlike   any   other   organ   in   the   body   the   liver   can   repair   and   rejuvenate   itself   very   quickly   if   you   give   it   a   chance   and act promptly. K.Badrinath
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