Fatty liver disease: The two warning signs of the condition found in your abdomen
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Fatty liver disease (steatosis) is a common condition caused by having too much fat build up in your liver. A healthy liver contains a small amount of fat. It becomes a problem when fat reaches 5 percent to 10 percent of your liver’s weight.
A healthy liver helps the body fight infections, cleans the blood, and plays a role in metabolism.
It can also repair itself when damaged.
If the liver is unable to do its job properly, it can be a life-threatening situation.
Feeling either abdominal pain or abdominal swelling could indicate your risk of fatty liver disease.
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One key sign of fatty liver disease is a swollen tummy which can be caused a flu build up, known as ascites.
If your belly suddenly balloons and doesn’t stop, it could be more than ordinary bloating.
“Increased pressure within the blood vessels around the liver can lead to fluid build-up in the abdomen,” says Dr Narayanan Menon, medical director of liver transplantation at Cleveland Clinic.
“It’s important to see a doctor, who will be able to tell you if you’re bloated from gas, food, or fluid.”
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According to Macmillan Cancer Support, ascites is a build-up of fluid between the two layers of the peritoneum, a membrane lining the abdomen.
Ascites can develop if cancer has spread to the peritoneum or the liver is damaged of affected by cancer.
It can also develop if cancer is stopping the lymphatic system – which transports fluid containing white blood cells around the body.
Liver pain can be dull and nonspecific, but it can also be severe, said Medical News Today.
The health site continued: “It may result in a backache. Liver pain is sometimes confused with a pain in the right shoulder, or in the abdomen, or the kidney.
“Many liver diseases and other organ conditions can cause liver pain.
“Some of these can lead to liver damage. Without treatment, the liver may eventually stop functioning.
“Liver disease refers to any condition that causes liver inflammation or damage, and that may affect liver function. Liver pain is often a sign of liver disease.”
In most cases, fatty liver disease doesn’t cause any serious problems or prevent your liver from functioning normally, said the Cleveland Clinic.
The health site continued: “But for 7 percent to 30 percent of people with the condition, fatty liver disease gets worse over time.”
It progresses through three stages:
Your liver becomes inflamed (swollen), which damages its tissue. This stage is called steatohepatitis.
Scar tissue forms where your liver is damaged. This process is called fibrosis.
Extensive scar tissue replaces healthy tissue. At this point, you have cirrhosis of the liver.
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