The American Liver Foundation estimates that over 100 million Americans have some degree of fatty liver disease. This staggering statistic is what prompts the gastroenterologists at Digestive Disorders Associates to offer comprehensive guidance and evaluations that help their patients in Annapolis, Chester, and Gambrills/Waugh Chapel, Maryland, gain a handle on the condition before it causes irreversible damage. If you’re dealing with fatty liver disease, or suspect you might be, call or schedule an appointment using the online booking tool.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is an umbrella term for any condition that causes fat to build up in the cells in your liver. To be classified as fatty liver disease, more than 5%-10% of your liver’s overall weight needs to be composed of fat.
Fatty liver disease affects people of all ages, but typically strikes people in their 40s and 50s. That said, it’s the most common form of liver disease in children in the United States, and the numbers have almost doubled in the last 20 years.
If left unchecked, fatty liver disease can cause serious complications. In some cases, the disease progresses to a condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which is marked by a chronically inflamed liver. This inflammation can lead to scarring, which causes irreversible damage.
Ultimately, the big threat is cirrhosis. When your liver attempts to control the inflammation that fatty liver disease can cause, the tissue begins to scar over, impeding function, eventually causing liver failure.
One of the trickiest aspects of fatty liver disease is that there are very few early warning signs. As your liver becomes enlarged, it may lead to fatigue and pain in your abdomen, but you generally don’t feel any outward symptoms until the disease is well advanced.
It’s for this reason that you should be aware of the risk factors, which include:
These risk factors should put you on alert for fatty liver disease, which your doctor at Digestive Disorders Associates can diagnose.
After a thorough evaluation, which includes blood tests and advanced imaging, your doctor either confirms or rules out fatty liver disease. If they diagnose the disease in your liver, the first line of defense against the progression of the disease is weight loss and better nutrition. Since fatty liver disease is caused when you store extra fat in your liver, it makes sense that weight loss is your best tool for fighting back.
To learn more about fatty liver disease, call Digestive Disorders Associates or use the online scheduler to book an appointment.