How would you feel if you knew you had fatty liver? Just imagine the stress of knowing you have severe liver disease, except that fatty liver disease is the initial stage of something that can become serious later on. In fact, many people who have a fatty liver don’t even know they have it. But you’d undoubtedly feel anxious and concerned if you are diagnosed, right?
As the name implies, fatty liver disease is the name given to an accumulation of fat in the liver. Most people think it is only caused by heavy drinking, high-calorie diets, or simply aging. But some people develop fatty liver disease, even if they are lean, eat healthily, and don’t drink at all. For more information, you can consult our fatty liver disease overview article, which includes the causes of this ailment.
While most people can tell if they are overweight, some people cannot determine if they have fatty liver disease. If you notice several symptoms listed in this article, there’s a chance you have fatty liver disease. However, remember that only a doctor can give you a diagnosis.
The symptoms of fatty liver disease include:
1) Symptoms in the initial stage of the disease
As mentioned above, many people with fatty liver disease (FLD) don’t even know they have the disease. That’s because they have no symptoms at all, at least in the first stage of the disease. It’s a widespread problem, and people can live with it and carry on with their lives with no apparent consequences. The only way FLD will give you symptoms right away is when it is associated with inflammation in a disease known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). And even so, only 50% of patients with NASH develop symptoms in the first stage of the disease.
An estimated 17 to 33 percent of Americans are probably living right now with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and up to 20 percent of those cases remain undiagnosed. While the first signs are usually mild and nonspecific, the condition progresses to end-stage liver disease when fat accumulation triggers chronic inflammation and fibrosis, followed by cirrhosis.
So, the symptoms of the initial stage of the disease are mild or nonexistent, but we shouldn’t underestimate fatty liver disease. The long-term consequences of doing nothing about it can be disastrous.