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Fatty liver



Fatty liver is the collection of excessive amounts of triglycerides and other fats inside liver cells.
Also called steatosis, fatty liver can be a temporary or long-term condition, which is not harmful itself, but may indicate some other type of problem. Left untreated, it can contribute to other illnesses. It is usually reversible once the cause of the problem is diagnosed and corrected.
The liver is the organ responsible for changing fats eaten in the diet to types of fat that can be stored and used by the body. Triglycerides are one of the forms of fat stored by the body and used for energy and new cell formation. The break down of fats in the liver can be disrupted by alcoholism, malnutrition, pregnancy, or poisoning. In fatty liver, large droplets of fat, containing mostly triglycerides, collect within cells of the liver.
The condition is generally not painful and may go unnoticed for a long period of time. In severe cases, the liver can increase to over three times its normal size and may be painful and tender.
Fatty liver can be caused by certain chemical compounds, nutritional, or endocrine disorders. Drugs or chemical compounds that can cause fatty liver include alcohol, tetracycline, cortisone, phosphorous and carbon tetrachloride. Of these alcohol is by far the most common cause. Inflammation usually accompanies exposure to these toxins and is responsible for the associated symptoms of fever, fatigue and jaundice.
Nutritional causes of fat in the liver result from starvation, obesity, protein malnutrition and intestinal bypass operation for obesity. In obesity, the fatty deposits are accompanied by some inflammatory changes and mild scarring of the liver.
The endocrine causes of fatty liver include diabetes mellitus and fatty liver of pregnancy. In both cases, a large amount of fat can be rapidly deposited in the liver leading to expansion of the liver with tenderness in the upper right part of the abdomen. In diabetes this occurs only in juveniles. Fatty liver during pregnancy occurs near term and may result in premature termination of the pregnancy.
Fatty liver can be present in patients with alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis or may be an isolated finding.
Present evidence shows that while fatty liver is usually present in excessive alcohol intake, it probably does not lead to the development of alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis. In fact, most individuals with alcoholic fatty liver do not develop the more serious forms of liver disease.
However, continued alcohol ingestion has been known to cause alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Often, there are no symptoms associated with fatty liver. If there are symptoms, they can include pain under the rib cage on the right side of the body, swelling of the abdomen, jaundice, and fever. Symptoms that occur less often in alcoholic fatty liver, but more often in pregnancy related fatty liver, are nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.

tags:Fatty liver,Fatty liver can be present in patients with alcoholic hepatitis 

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