When my doctor told me I had fatty deposits in the liver it was one of those “Okay, tell me more,” moments.
That didn’t sound near as bad as what he told me next. You have grade 3 stage 4 NASH (nonalcoholic streatohepatitis) which is fatty liver disease with inflammation and damage. “Nonalcoholic” is applied to distinguish the fatty liver disease that persons who drink little or no alcohol have from the similar alcoholic liver disease caused by excessive use of alcohol.
I was shocked.
“How many stages are there?” I asked.
“Four,” he replied.
“Hmmm,” I thought. “This can’t be good.”
How could my liver have deteriorated that far without me or my doctor knowing it? I had complained of fatigue a few years ago and my doctor “rounded up the usual suspects” (curiously, “fatty deposits in the liver” was not among them) but found nothing.
A couple of years ago routine blood work indicated elevated liver enzymes. Since I was on statin medications for cholesterol my doctor prescribed a different brand statin drug. When that didn’t help, he reduced how often I took it and finally took me off of statins altogether. My liver enzymes continued to be elevated. You can see how this trial and error method of diagnosis can eat up a couple of years and delay treatment. “Try this and we’ll look at it again in six months…” Sound familiar?
I still had no symptoms for fatty liver that I could detect myself. The fatigue had subsided or perhaps I began to accept it as “normal for my age.”
My doctor finally decided we needed to find out what was causing my elevated liver enzymes. He sent me to a gastroenterology specialist who immediately ordered a liver biopsy and that was the beginning of my education on fatty liver disease.
Fatty deposits in the liver are very common.
In fact, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease in the world. It reportedly exists in 20-30% of the population in general and 67-75% among the obese. And it is growing because obesity is becoming epidemic in the Western world.
Fatty liver is the first stage of abnormality in the liver and simply means there is an accumulation of fat in the liver cells. Liver fat is different from body fat. By themselves fatty deposits in the liver are relatively harmless but may indicate that other conditions exist that could lead to inflammation and scarring of the liver.
Fatty liver accompanied by inflammation and/or scarring in persons who drink little or no alcohol is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH is a more serious liver condition in that the inflammation may lead to scarring and ultimately to cirrhosis and cancer.
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Is No Respecter Of Persons
NALFD afflicts men, women and children of all ages. The growing problem of obesity among children brings with it a higher incidence of fatty liver disease in them as well. Parents of obese children have an obligation to educate themselves about NAFLD and take preventive measures.
As for the rest of us who are at risk or have fatty liver disease we have a responsibility to ourselves and our loved ones. NAFLD and NASH are reversible but make no mistake; your liver can kill you.
Take responsibility for your health. See your doctor. Be aggressive about getting answers and follow up regularly. Follow your doctor’s orders. Learn all you can so you can ask the right questions. Check out alternatives that your doctor may not know about or neglect to tell you but always check with your doctor before acting on any alternative. Alternatives should only be used in conjunction with conventional medicine with your doctor’s approval; never in lieu of.
The most comprehensive information source that I have found is the Fatty Liver Bible & Ezra Protocol. It’s an eBook you can download immediately so you don’t have to wait. It comes with several bonuses, some of which I found useful. Maybe you’ll find them all useful. I didn’t but that’s just me. But they come free with the eBook so why not? And there is no risk. Your satisfaction is ensured by a money back guarantee within 60 days.
Oh, be sure to check out the fine print:
I’ll get a commission if you buy but don’t let that stop you. Try it risk free.
©2011 Bob Young