Fatty Liver Disease | Q&A

Fatty Liver Disease | Q&A

August 17, 2019 85 By William Morgan


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Non-alcoholic fatty liver
disease is a condition in which
the accumulation of
excess fat in the liver,
not due to excessive
alcohol consumption.
It’s a very common condition
in clinical practice.
It’s affect about 20% of
the world population.
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We care about fatty liver
disease because it is one
of the problem which can cause
liver failure, liver cancer, and
the need for
liver transplantation.
The presence of extra
fat in the liver
can cause chronic irritation
of the liver cells and
subsequently can cause
further liver damage.
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There are three common causes
of fatty liver disease,
being overweight,
patient’s with diabetes and
also patient’s with
high cholesterol.
Keeping in mind some people
with normal body weight
can have fatty liver disease.
The increasing epidemic of fatty
liver disease has been recently
attributed to overweight and
the high prevalence of diabetes.
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Fatty liver disease used to be a
very rare condition in children.
However, recently with the
increasing problem of obesity
in children,
fatty liver disease became
affecting about 10% of children.
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Early in the course
of the disease,
many patients have no symptoms.
However, when the scaring and
the inflammation of
the liver progress.
Many patients start to
complain of problems
related to enlargement
of the liver or fatigue.
If complications happened from
fatty liver disease such as
cirrhosis or complete scaring,
patient can have problems with
bleeding and symptoms of other
complications of liver
disease such as liver cancer.
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When we do a blood test for
a patient with fatty liver
disease, many patients will have
elevated liver function test.
Imaging modalities can
be very helpful for
diagnoses of fatty
liver disease,
such as ultrasound,
CT scan, MRI, or fiber scan.
Occasionally, patients might
need liver biopsy to assess
the significance of
the damage in the liver.
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Fatty liver disease in early
stage could be completely
reversible.
However, if patient continues
to have excess fat in the liver.
This can lead to complete
scarring of the liver,
or what we call sclerosis.
And subsequently liver failure,
and its complications such as
liver cancer, and the need for
liver transplantation.
Fatty liver disease become
a more common indication for
liver transplantation globally.
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There is no specific treatment
for fatty liver disease.
The most important step is
to control the risk factors
to liver disease such as high
cholesterol and controlling
the blood sugar, and lose
weight for obese individuals.
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There are recent studies which
confirm clearly the benefit of
coffee for
patients with liver disease.
There have been some suggestions
that drinking two or
three cups of coffee a day
will prevent liver cancer,
and liver scarring in patients
with fatty liver disease.
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The most important food to avoid
for patients with fatty liver
disease, are food rich in
refined sugars, such as bread,
rice, potatoes and corn.
Also we recommend for patients
to consume lean meat and
increase the amount
of vegetables and
salads in their diet.
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At Johns Hopkins Hospital we
are conducting several clinical
trials.
Looking for a novel therapy for
fatty liver disease.
We’re using tablets form for
specific drugs that
alter the pathophysiology
of fatty liver disease.
What we are hoping is to
prevent the accumulation of
fat in the liver.
To reduce the amount of scarring
in the liver from fatty
liver disease.
And eventually preventing liver
cancer and liver failure.
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