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Hepatic Steatosis (Fatty Liver)

What is fatty liver

Fatty liver (hepatic steatosis) is when there’s fat build ups in your liver. Having fat in your liver is normal however, having too much would lead to many health issues. Because the liver is an organ that processes, stores nutrients from food and the only actual detox in your body as it filters harmful substances in your blood and food.

When there is a build up of too much fat in your liver, it can cause inflammation and damage your liver. In the long term, it would reduce its efficiency and prolong damage would lead to liver failure. When fatty liver develops in someone who drinks excessive alcohol, it would develop alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) and vice versa would be non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD)

What is the cause of fatty liver

Fatty liver happens when too much fat is produced or is not metabolized efficiently enough, they are stored in the liver. What causes production of too much fat or unable to metabolize fat could be:

  • Obese
  • Consuming too much sugar
  • Consuming too much fat
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Pregnancy (hormone changes, could cause acute NAFLD)
  • Infections (hepatitis C)

How to manage fatty liver

As of now, there are no medications approved that can treat fatty liver disease. There are only lifestyle interventions which can help reduce severity and if determined, could reverse it. Common lifestyle interventions include:

  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • Weight management
  • Dietary changes to include healthier food (eg: high fibre diet)
  • Managing other complications that could affect such as hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and hypertension

When the liver has reached the stage of cirrhosis, which means hardening of the liver, there will be no recovery and is considered liver failure. A liver transplant would be needed.

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