Fatty liver disease: The easily missed symptom linked to advanced form of the condition

Liver disease: NHS Doctor talks about link with alcohol

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Other symptoms that NAFLD has reached an advanced stage include a dull or aching pain in the top right of the tummy, unexplained weight loss, and weakness.

If NAFLD continues to develop without diagnosis, cirrhosis of the liver can develop; cirrhosis is the long-term scarring of the liver that can cause jaundice, itchy skin, and swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.

The NHS recommends that an individual with these symptoms should see a GP or call 111 as soon as they can if they have any of these symptoms.

NAFLD will be diagnosed through means of a blood test or an ultrasound scan.

Although NAFLD is a common form of liver disease, it is not the only form of the condition.

Other types of liver disease include alcohol-related liver disease, hepatitis, haemochromatosis, and primary biliary cirrhosis.

Hepatitis caused by a viral infection and like alcohol-related disease can be caused by the over consumption of alcoholic drinks while haemochromatosis is an inherited condition where iron levels build up over time.

While primary biliary cirrhosis is a condition that worsens over time and can lead to liver failure; this can be caused by issues with the immune system.

With regard to the causes of NAFLD, the main reason for the development of the condition is the buildup of fat in the liver.

As a result, the condition is normally found in those who are unfit and overweight.

However, a person’s risk of developing NAFLD can also be caused by the presence of other conditions such as type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Treatment for the condition, if it is caught early, includes losing weight, moving to a balanced diet, regular exercise, and not smoking if that is a habit the patient engages in when diagnosed.

If the condition has advanced further, medication could be required to treat the causes of the condition as there is currently no direct treatment for NAFLD.

Alternatively, if the condition has developed to the point of cirrhosis, a liver transplant may be required.

Meanwhile, new research is investigating a new novel approach to the treatment of liver disease.

Known as the FARGO trial, researchers from the University of Birmingham are investigating whether a faecal microbiota transplant could slow the progression of a rare form of liver disease known as primary sclerosing cholangitis.

Also known as PSC, it affects around 3,600 people in the UK and mainly affects those under the age of 40.

During PSC, the liver is attacked by the body’s immune system causing liver failure and cancer in some cases.

The faecal microbiota transplant is a process where scientists will take stools containing natural microbes and transfer them to the bowels of PSC to observe whether it slows the progression of the condition; doctors are currently unable to treat PSC directly, only manage its symptoms.

For more information about liver disease contact the NHS or consult with your GP if symptoms appear.

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