Non-alcoholic fatty liver – When the liver loses its fatLiver damage is mainly associated with excessive alcohol consumption. There are also other causes that can lead to a fatty liver. How to recognize it, what helps against it and how to prevent it.
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Non-alcoholic fatty liver is the most widespread liver disease: around 30 percent of Germans are affected. Among the severely overweight. diabetics, it is even about 85 percent. The fat liver is thus a classical civilization illness.
Liver is the central Metabolic organ of the human being. It ensures that the body detoxifies becomes, Produces and stores proteins and utilizes fats. The liver is located in the right upper abdomen, directly under the diaphragm.
One disease, many triggers
There are many triggers for a fatty liver. In particular strong predominance and an unhealthy nourishing way contribute to the emergence, because surplus energy is stored as body fat – among other things evenly also at the liver.
Sufferers themselves usually do not notice a fatty liver for a long time or merely feel a bit more tired and unfocused than usual. This is dangerous, because if the disease remains undiagnosed and untreated for a long time, the liver structure can change. More connective tie then forms between the liver cells, which becomes scarred – leading to cirrhosis of the liver in the long term. Cirrhosis of the liver is the final stage of chronic liver disease.
Fatty deposits associated with elevated levels of inflammation are also referred to as fatty liver hepatitis (steatohepatitis). In principle, the following applies: Only when liver damage is already very advanced does this become noticeable in the blood count by means of an increase in the so-called liver values (GOT, GPT). When fatty liver is suspected, doctors therefore usually use ultrasound examinations.
In itself, a distinction is made between three stages of fatty liver:
1. The pure fatty liver without inflammatory reaction 2. A fatty liver with an inflammatory reaction (steatohepatitis) 3. Cirrhosis of the liver
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Diabetics are more frequently affected
In addition to obesity, certain medications – such as acetaminophen, some rheumatism medications and antibiotics – diabetes, viruses and protein deficiency due to malnutrition can also be triggers of a fatty liver. Another cause is vitamin B deficiency: If the body lacks vitamin B, the fat contained in the liver is not processed properly and accumulates there.
In very rare cases, sudden fatty liver disease can also occur during pregnancy, usually after 30 weeks of age. Pregnancy week. The disease is very dangerous and can sometimes be fatal for mother and child; however, exactly how it is triggered is as yet unclear.
The fact that diabetes patients are more often affected by fatty liver than others is due to the fact that the disease is accompanied by changes in fat metabolism: With insulin resistance, more fats are released into the body. This also allows the liver cells to absorb more free fats.
Therapy for fatty liver
The therapies therefore differ significantly depending on the triggers. In any case, fatty liver should be treated as early as possible to prevent the risk of cirrhosis of the liver.
If medication is the cause of a fatty liver, it must either be replaced or treated with an antidote. In the case of paracetamol, for example, the antidote acetylcysteine can be taken additionally.
If a fatty liver is hereditary, little can be achieved through dietary changes. Doctors then try to strengthen the cell membrane of the liver by prescribing stabilizing drugs, antioxidant or lipid-lowering drugs.
If obesity or unhealthy eating is the trigger for acquired fatty liver, nutritional therapy measures should be used first and foremost. The good news for sufferers: a change to a balanced, wholesome and calorie-reduced diet can ensure that the fat storage is completely reduced again.