Understanding the Liver

FATTY LIVER


Some fat in your liver is normal. But if it makes up more than 5%-10% of the organ’s weight, you may have fatty liver disease. If you’re a drinker, stop. That’s one of the key causes of the condition.

There are two main types of fatty liver disease:

  • Alcoholic liver disease (ALD)
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

CAUSES OF ALCOHOLIC LIVER DISEASE (ALD)

You can get alcoholic liver disease from drinking lots of alcohol. It can even show up after a short period of heavy drinking.

Genes that are passed down from your parents may also play a role in ALD. They can affect the chances that you become an alcoholic. And they can also have an impact on the way your body breaks down the alcohol you drink.

Other things that may affect your chance of getting ALD are:

• Hepatitis C (which can lead to inflammation in your liver)
• Too much iron in your body
• Being obese



ACUTE FATTY LIVER OF PREGNANCY

It’s rare, but fat can build up in your liver when you’re pregnant. This could be risky for both you and your baby. It could lead to liver or failure in either of you. It might also cause a serious infection or bleeding.

No one fully understands why fatty liver happens during pregnancy, but hormones may play a role.


CAUSES OF NON-ALCOHOLIC FATTY LIVER DISEASE (NAFLD)

It’s not clear what causes this type of fatty liver disease. It tends to run in families.

It’s also more likely to happen to those who are middle-aged and overweight or obese. People like that often have high cholesterol and diabetes as well.
It’s rare, but fat can build up in your liver when you’re pregnant. This could be risky for both you and your baby. It could lead to liver or failure in either of you. It might also cause a serious infection or bleeding.

No one fully understands why fatty liver happens during pregnancy, but hormones may play a role.



SYMPTOMS OF FATTY LIVER DISEASE

You might have fatty liver disease and not realize it. There are often no symptoms at first. As time goes on, often years or even decades, you can get problems related to chronic liver disease like:

• Feeling tired
• Loss of weight or appetite
• Weakness
• Nausea
• Confusion, poor judgment, or trouble concentrating


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