Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a term used for a variety of liver disorders in which individuals who rarely use alcoholic beverages get affected. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease refers to buildup of excess fat in the liver.
Nonalcoholic hepatic steatosis, a very serious pattern of the disease, refers to inflammation of the liver that can progress toward irreversible damage. This damage to the liver is quite the same as seen in individuals who abuse alcoholic beverages. In its most severe form, nonalcoholic hepatic steatosis might progress to cirrhosis and liver failure.
Hepatic disease of non-alcoholic fatty liver is becoming more frequent throughout the world, especially in Western countries. In the United States, it is the most common form of chronic liver disease that affects approximately 80 to 100 million people.
Liver disease of non-alcoholic fatty liver occurs in all age groups, especially in people between 40 and 60 years who have a high risk of heart disease due to risk factors such as obesity and type II diabetes. It is also closely associated with metabolic syndrome which is a collection of abnormalities to include poor ability to consume insulin, hypertension, increased abdominal fat, along with elevated triglyceride levels.
What Causes You To Have A Fatty Liver?
Healthcare professionals do not know precisely why some patients accumulate fat in the liver and others do not. There is also little knowledge among researchers as to why there is inflammation in the liver which ultimately progresses to liver cirrhosis. Nonalcoholic fatty liver and nonalcoholic liver steatosis both are connected to the following risk factors: Overweight or obesity, insulin resistance: when cells do not process sugar in response to the hormone insulin, a high blood glucose level (hyperglycemia) that indicates prediabetes or type 2 diabetes and high levels of fats in the blood, particularly triglycerides.
These combined health problems seem to stimulate the deposit of fat in the liver. For some people, this excess of fat acts as toxic substances in the liver cells, which produces inflammation of the liver and nonalcoholic hepatic steatosis that cause the accumulation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the liver.
A vast variety of pathologies and conditions may increase your risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; these include:
- High levels of cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides in the blood
- Metabolic syndrome
- Obesity, especially when fats are concentrated in the abdomen
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hypoactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Hypoactive hypophysis gland (hypopituitarism)
Non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis is more likely to be developed by these groups: Old people, people with diabetes, and people with body fat concentrated in the abdomen.
It is hard to distinguish liver disease from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease without additional tests.
Liver cirrhosis is the primary complication that arises from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. This is a condition in which there is extensive scarring of the liver. Cirrhosis occurs as a result of significant liver damage like inflammation due to nonalcoholic hepatic steatosis or alcohol abuse. As the liver tries to combat inflammation, there is resultant scarring causing which is what is termed as cirrhosis. With the inflammation expanding, the scarring increases and encompasses more liver tissue.
Cirrhosis is the last and irreversible stage of deterioration of the liver, represented by the destruction of the parenchyma (it is the functional component of the liver) and the formation of fibrotic regeneration nodules.
If the process does not stop, cirrhosis can produce accumulation of fluid in the abdomen (ascites), swelling of the veins in the esophagus (esophageal varices) that can break and bleed, disorientation, drowsiness and stammering (hepatic encephalopathy), liver cancer, end-stage liver failure which means that the liver has stopped working.
About 20 percent of people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease develop cirrhosis.
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