The danger of high triglycerides levels include serious medical consequences and one of those is fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease is a disease of the liver that, as the name describes, has the main symptom of a fatty liver. In this condition, the triglyceride fat accumulates in the liver. As the accumulation of fat becomes severe, the liver eventually becomes inflamed.
Causes of Fatty Liver Disease
There are many causes of fatty liver but the two most common are alcohol and metabolic syndrome. Initially, the condition is referred to as a fatty liver. It becomes a disease when the amount of fat in the liver accounts for more than 5-10% of the liver’s weight.
If the fatty liver is the result of chronic alcohol drinking of more than two drinks a day, the disease is called alcoholic fatty liver disease.
If the disease is associated with metabolic syndrome, it is referred to as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD. Obesity, with or without insulin resistance, is a major risk factor for getting non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Other risk factors for NAFLD include
- High triglycerides
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive drinking of soda (soft drinks) and other beverages with high-fructose corn syrup
- Consuming more than 12 teaspoons of sugar daily
For the purposes of this article, we are going to be referring only to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Occurrence Of Fatty Liver Disease
Within the world, over 30% of adults have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. That is over 500 million people. Among obese diabetics, over 90% develop fatty liver disease.
In America, fatty liver disease is the most common cause of abnormal liver function tests.
Liver Cancer and Fatty Liver Disease
The number of people who have fatty liver disease that progresses to liver cancer is not known but the connection between the two diseases has been well-established by scientific studies. Other conditions caused by fatty liver disease are abnormal liver function, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and liver failure. In fact, non-alcoholic liver disease is predicted to be the major reason for liver transplants within the next decade.
Diagnosis of Fatty Liver Disease
Most people with fatty livers show few, if any, symptoms. Symptoms, if present, include fatigue, lack of energy and dull discomfort in the right upper abdominal area.
Fatty liver disease is usually first discovered by an abnormal liver enzyme blood test. When your health care practitioner finds that your liver enzymes are elevated, he will usually do another blood test to rule out viral hepatitis. Once that is ruled out, he will probably order a cat scan or ultrasound of the liver. This will show fatty infiltrates in the liver in the presence of fatty liver disease.
It is difficult to differentiate clinically between alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The only way to do this is by asking you about your pattern of drinking alcohol.
Treatment of Fatty Liver Disease
The treatment of fatty liver disease depends on the cause and how severe the disease has become. If caught early enough, a change in diet and lifestyle can reverse the disease. Weight loss can improve the disease in obese people but rapid weight loss may worsen it.
New research has proven that a variant of vitamin E known as tocotrienols can be used to bring about a complete remission of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This research was done by a Malaysian based international pharmaceutical company, Hovid Bhd. Hovid Bhd carries a pharmaceutical brand of tocotrienols called Tocovid SupraBio.
Tocotrienols are found in nature but only at very low levels. Can you take Vitamin E to protect yourself or treat yourself? That would be something you need to discuss with your doctor if you are dealing with fatty liver disease.