You may be wondering what the symptoms are for fatty liver disease.
The fact is there usually aren’t any. This is a disease that is insidious and people who have it are often unaware of the problem until serious symptoms occur, if ever. A very common health problem, it is estimated that around 20% of all adults in the United States have this condition.
Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease
Here are a few symptoms that have been noted in this disease:
- Fatigue – Some people with fatty liver disease are unusually tired
- Unexplained weight loss – You may experience weight loss even if you aren’t dieting
- Pain in the upper right hand side
- Patchy darkened skin areas, usually on your neck or underarms
Many people who have the nonalcoholic form of the disease never suffer any ill effects, while others do. In its advanced stages, you might have these symptoms:
- Tarry stools
- Fluid build up in your stomach, feet and legs
- Jaundice, which is yellowing of the whites of your eyes or skin
- A feeling of malaise, or nonspecific not feeling well
- Mental confusion
- Increased bruising
Any manifestation of these symptoms and you should not waste any time getting to a doctor. If you are experiencing any of the first group of symptoms, you should also see a doctor since any of them could signal a potentially serious health concern, even if not a liver problem.
This is particularly true of pain in your upper right side, which is where your liver and gallbladder are both located.
What Tests are Done to Diagnose Fatty Liver Disease?
There are several diagnostic tests that may be performed to identify this condition. Your doctor might want you to have one or all of them, depending on the findings. Sometimes one test will show something that another test didn’t. For example, a liver biopsy furnishes an actual piece of the liver for examination.
Here are the current tests being done to diagnose this disease:
Blood work may be drawn. It will show if there are elevations in liver enzymes, which can include alanine aminotransferase, or ALT, and aspartate aminotransferase, or AST.
Imaging tests. This can be an MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or a CT scan, which is computerized tomography. Sometimes, the doctor will want an ultrasound of the liver, also.
Liver Biopsy. This one is the only test that can definitely and conclusively diagnose the disease. A long needle is inserted through the abdominal wall into your liver and a little piece of liver tissue is removed and then examined under a microscope.
Depending on your doctor and your resources – whether or not you have insurance, for instance – you might opt for skipping the first two diagnostic tests and going straight for the liver biopsy that gets right to the heart of the matter with a definite diagnosis right away.
If in doubt about whether or not you have fatty liver disease, it is best to go ahead and consult a doctor about it, just to be on the safe side.
If you are diagnosed with it, there are homeopathic treatments that have proven effective in many people at treating, and even reversing, the course of the disease. You can also try a special and effective liver cleansing diet that will reverse the disease if followed properly.