Obesity and Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Obesity and Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
January 28 05:35 2021 by admin Print This Article

The impact that excessive alcohol consumption has on the liver is well known. There is a common perception that cirrhosis and other serious and often life-threatening liver diseases are primarily due to this reason. While it is a major cause, so too is obesity. Both excessive drinking and obesity cause a build-up of fatty deposits in the liver. The condition is known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD.

How does NAFLD affect the body?

The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It helps with digestion, makes proteins to repair and rebuild damaged cells, stores the iron that the body needs, convert nutrients into energy, and helps resist infections that attack the body. The liver normally contains a small amount of fat. When obesity increases the amount of fat to constitute 5% to 10% of the total liver weight, a person has NAFLD.

In many cases, NAFLD may not cause any symptoms and people may not know that they have the condition. In other cases, the liver becomes swollen which causes tissue damage.  This condition is called Non-Alcholic Steato Hepatitis ( NASH).This damage results in cell damage followed by the formation of scar tissue which limits the liver’s ability to function. When the scar tissue becomes excessive, the condition is known as cirrhosis and this can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.

How does obesity cause fatty liver disease?

In some cases, NAFLD may develop for no apparent reason. That being said, there are some common causes for the condition:

  • Being obese is one of the most common causes. Modern dietary habits, lifestyles, lack of exercise, and genetic traits are the main reasons for obesity.
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Using some prescription medications
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What are the symptoms of a fatty liver disease?”

In many cases, a person with NAFLD will have no symptoms until the disease has progressed to the stage of cirrhosis. In other cases, the symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain and/or a feeling of fullness in the belly
  • Nausea
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Yellow tinges in the eyes and skin (jaundice)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Mental confusion
  • Swollen legs and abdomen

Which is the preferred treatment for NAFLD? 

The first stage of treatment for NAFLD caused by obesity is to lose weight. A controlled and steady loss of weight, under medical supervision, may help reverse the progress of the disease. This includes a controlled diet and regular exercise. In addition, a doctor may prescribe medication to bring NAFLD under control. If these treatment options are ineffective and the condition becomes severe and life-threatening, a liver transplant is the only option.

Liver transplants are among the most common of transplant surgeries. While any transplant surgery is a major procedure, in the case of the liver, it is comparatively low risk for both the donor and the recipient. A donor liver may be from either a dead person or from a living donor who donates a small part of his or her liver. Because the liver can regenerate itself, the donor’s liver will grow back to normal. The small section that is transplanted will also slowly grow to full size. Before the transplant is done, a large number of tests are conducted to ensure that the donor and recipient are compatible with the transplant.

If you have, or suspect that you are suffering from NAFLD, consult a liver transplantation specialist. It is a myth that a transplant surgeon will always advise a transplant. The surgeon’s priority is always to cure the patient in the best possible manner. A liver transplant specialist will examine all other options and advise a transplant only if there is no other choice. NAFLD and other liver conditions are serious, but the sooner they are diagnosed and treated, the greater the possibility of curing the disease.


Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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  1. Aadhya
    February 24, 19:32 #1 Aadhya

    Obesity can cause such grave issues! Good info!

    Reply to this comment
    March 24, 02:02 #2 GDAX LOGIN

    This is very nice and informative blog for, thanks for sharing

    Reply to this comment
  3. Vithulya
    December 11, 14:23 #3 Vithulya

    Obesity has become a common problem for all and it is also very hard to lose weight. Great blog by the way!

    Reply to this comment

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