Fatty liver disease symptoms: The key physical indication your organ is damaged

Cirrhosis sufferer explains his previous relationship with alcohol

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One key physical indication of fatty liver disease is “abdominal pain, or a feeling of fullness in the upper right side of the abdomen”, certified the Cleveland Clinic. Other warning signs include nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, and a swollen abdomen and legs. Also be aware that advanced fatty liver disease can lead to jaundice, which is when the whites of the eyes turn yellow.

As with any disease, extreme tiredness is commonplace, and weakness might be felt within the body.

Any of these warning signs warrant immediate medical attention, as cirrhosis can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.

Prior to cirrhosis, there are two other dangerous progressions of fatty liver disease.

The first stage is when the liver becomes inflamed and swollen, which in turn damages the tissues; this is known as steatohepatitis.

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The next stage of fatty liver disease is a process called fibrosis, when scar tissue starts to form where the liver is damaged.

How does cirrhosis differ from fibrosis?

Cirrhosis is the term used to describe “extensive scar tissue”, which slow’s down the liver’s functioning.

Steatophepatitis and fibrosis tend not to present symptoms, but there are ways to figure out if you’re likely to have the condition.

Elevated liver enzymes picked up on in a blood test may highlight to your GP that the organ is injured.

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This may be followed up by an ultrasound, CT scan, or a liver biopsy to make a diagnosis.

Even without a blood test, there are certain risk factors that make a person more likely to have fatty liver disease.

For example, people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol are at greater risk.

Suffering from obstructive sleep apnea – a condition whereby a blocked airway leads to disrupted breathing during sleep – is another risk factor for fatty liver disease.

The Cleveland Clinic also mentioned that “a high level of belly fat” is risky.

In addition, a person has a greater chance of developing fatty liver disease if they’re a menopausal woman or “are hispanic or asian”.

Thankfully, inflammation of the liver (steatophepatitis) is reversible, and there are ways to stop the condition from getting worse.

Lifestyle changes “can significantly improve your health”, which may involve losing weight if you’re overweight.

This will involve exercising regularly, which will lead to positive physical and mental outcomes.

If you are prescribed any medication to control diabetes, cholesterol or high blood pressure, keeping these conditions well managed will help.

Moreover, it’s better to avoid alcohol if you want the liver to be able to heal itself.

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