The human liver serves the important function of flushing toxins from the blood. It is the largest internal organ by size and also the only one that can regenerate itself. Every person’s liver has some amount of fat, but the fat buildup is extremely and weighs around 5% or more of the weight of the liver, it can lead to what is known as fatty liver disease. Here are some of the facts worth knowing.
What’s fatty liver disease?
Well, fatty liver disease is an umbrella term for all conditions related to fat buildup in the liver. It can be broadly categorized into two parts – Alcoholic liver disease and Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD). As the name suggests, this is caused by drinking large amounts of alcohol, especially over a period of time. Sometimes, people can get ALD in a short period, as well, and it is believed to be linked with genetics too. If you consume alcohol, always keep a check on quantity. Experts from United Surgical Partners International recommend not more than two drinks for men a day, and not more than one for women. You are at a higher risk of getting ALD if you have/had Hepatitis C or have more iron in your body. Obesity and alcohol consumption can together lead to ALD too.
- Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. This is not related to alcohol, but is considered to be more genetic than ALD. Most patients suffering from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are over 40. People, who are obese, diabetic, or have high cholesterol, are at a higher risk too. Certain medications can also lead to fat deposits in the liver, and conditions like autoimmune disease and viral infections like hepatitis can also cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
There is also a third kind of fatty liver disease that’s related to pregnancy. It is a rare condition, when extensive buildup of fat is found on the liver, which can be harmful for the fetus and mother alike. Apart from increasing the chances of bleeding, the mother or the baby may suffer from kidney or liver failure. It is not clear what causes nonalcoholic fatty liver disease during pregnancy, but if this happens, doctors usually try to get the delivery done as soon as possible, and as long as it is safe. After delivery, the mother may get back to normal in some weeks, depending on the treatment.