Contributed by- Dr. Dhritay Vats
If you have been diagnosed with any of the fatty livers i.e. Alcoholic or Non-Alcoholic you have to keep a check on the other organs and systems of your body. A fatty liver weakens the body causing harmful effects on the body; hence, impacts a lot of systems and organs. The following health complications are attributed to the fatty liver:
- Steatohepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver
- Metabolic syndromes like excess body weight
- Insulin resistance
- High triglyceride levels
- Loss of appetite or anorexia
- Discoloration of skin ( turns pale)
- Acute or severe back pain
- Liver cancer
- High risk of heart disease
[You can also read: All You Need to Know about Fatty Liver]
If the liver is fatty, the other systems and organs are affected as liver fails to function normally; digestive waste products build up in your bloodstream and in effect poison your brain, leading to mental confusion, fatigue and disorientation. Let’s know these diseases a little more.
Cirrhosis of Liver – When fat in the liver progresses and no lifestyle changes are initiated, regular scarring of the liver tissue takes place. This leads to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and cirrhosis (advanced scarring). Hence, regular monitoring of liver functions is essential to rule out any further complications.
Metabolic Syndromes –Overweight and fatty liver are directly linked. Excess weight leads to a fatty liver, and if the weight is not brought under control, then it leads to obesity.
Insulin Resistance– An increase in the fat content of liver can lead to insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes. The insulin does not synthesize the fructose in the blood as fatty liver cells overload it. This thereby leads to an increase in blood sugar level.
High Triglyceride levels – Poor eating habits lead to high triglyceride levels but having a fatty liver even increases the probability of having high triglycerides in the blood stream. Triglycerides are the most common form of fat in the body. Triglyceride levels can be controlled to some extent by lifestyle modifications and medications.
[You can also read: Why 40% of People in Early 30’s have a Fatty Liver?]
Discoloration of skin – When the liver is affected it slows down its processes. The liver produces bile which breaks down the dietary fat. The conversion of food into energy has its effect on the skin. The skin of those suffering from fatty liver might show yellowish discoloration or pale effect as bilirubin is then mixed with the blood. As the metabolism of fats reduces, it causes patches of itchy, dry white skin.
Acute or severe back pain – The fatty liver disease can sometimes exhibit no symptoms at all. In few cases where there is no diagnosis at the right time. One such latent complication is acute back pain which is caused due to sluggishness in the liver functioning. This can sometimes even be accompanied by vomiting and fever. Liver being slightly placed towards the back anatomically radiates its pain to the back.
Liver cancer – One of the surging causes of liver cancer is fatty liver or hepatic nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. As the scarring of the liver continues in cirrhosis there are chances of leading to hepatic cancer.
High risk of heart disease – A lot of study and researches have proved the fact that having a fatty liver increases the risk of having a heart disease. The liver has multiple functions; it converts food into fuel, processes cholesterol, clears harmful toxins from the blood, and makes proteins that help your blood clot. The inflammatory compounds and other substances pumped out by a fat-afflicted liver might promote the atherosclerotic process that damages the insides of arteries and makes blood more likely to clot. This combination may lead to a heart attack or a stroke.
Loss of appetite or anorexia – One of the common risks of fatty liver is a loss of appetite or Anorexia. Elevated liver enzyme levels lead to a loss of appetite. This, in turn, damages the liver further as elevated enzyme levels can lead to multi-organ dysfunction.
To avoid such conditions, if you have any of the symptoms of a fatty liver get yourself tested with Liver Function Tests. These tests will help you keep a track on how your liver is functioning. If there is an abnormal reading consult a doctor immediately to avoid the risks of fatty liver.
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