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Learn more about fatty liver; the silent disease that your gastroenterologist can help you get under control.
There are silent diseases that sometimes go unnoticed, and are usually asymptomatic. These diseases can be hidden in our system until diagnosed by a health professional, or until they evolve and become something else. Fatty liver is one of such discrete diseases, and can be felt only through mild abdominal pain –especially in the upper portion–, or fatigue; otherwise, it is mostly asymptomatic. However, a gastroenterologist can provide timely confirmation of diagnosis through a number of specific tests.
What is fatty liver? There are certain triggering conditions, such as the consumption of large amounts of alcohol. Even though this is the most common cause of fatty liver, there is also non-alcoholic fatty liver, caused by overweight, insulin resistance, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and certain genetic metabolic disorders. Such issues give rise to what we know as metabolic syndrome, which, in turn, triggers fatty liver when the body synthetizes more fat or slows down metabolism; thus, fat accumulates and is stored inside liver cells.
Risks of late detection of fatty liver
If fatty liver is not detected in time by a gastroenterologist, or by a physician performing timely examination, the liver can get inflamed, and lead to fibrosis or cirrhosis. The next steps to diagnose fatty liver include blood test, ultrasound and, sometimes, a liver biopsy to see the progression of the disease.
After timely fatty liver detection, a good gastroenterologist may indicate accurate, and proper treatment to control or eliminate fat. To this end, the patient must take certain actions to lose weight (like a weight loss coach or weight loss clinic), control diabetes, change medications which may be causing the fatty liver condition, or quit alcohol consumption.
A healthy lifestyle is always the best method of prevention, but visiting a physician for accurate examinations is also necessary, in order to monitor your health. Moreover, by keeping a close look on our weight and eating habits, we can prevent and avoid silent diseases such as fatty liver. As far as diabetes is concerned, following treatments in a responsible way is essential to avoid losing control of our body, and to prevent unexpected consequences.
If you need more advice or information on this or other diseases, visit your trusted gastroenterologist, he may provide you with diagnoses, as well as next steps.
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Erick Alayo, MD – Bilingual Gastroenterologist