Fatty Liver - Symptoms

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The symptoms of fatty liver can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

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What are the symptoms of fatty liver?

Fatty liver disease rarely causes symptoms until the liver disease is far advanced. At most, there is enlargement of the liver which may give rise to mild right, upper abdominal discomfort.

Patients with advanced fatty liver disease - which means that the liver has developed large amounts of scar tissue or cirrhosis - have all of the well-known complications of advanced liver disease of any cause. The complications result from 1) loss of liver cells and their ability to perform their normal functions, and 2) blockage of the flow of blood from the intestines through the scarred liver.

Specifically, liver cells produce critical proteins, for example, proteins necessary for blood to clot, and advanced liver disease can result in excessive bleeding. The liver also removes waste products from the blood, for example, bilirubin and advanced liver disease can result in retention of bilirubin and jaundice (yellow skin due to the accumulation of bilirubin in tissues).

The blockage of the flow of blood through the liver causes the blood to go around (bypass) the liver. The pressure within the bypassing blood vessels increases and the vessels enlarge, particularly in the esophagus, and these vessels can rupture and bleed profusely. The flow of blood from the intestine that bypasses the liver prevents the liver from removing toxic chemicals produced in the intestine. These toxins are shunted to the brain where they interfere with all of the brain's functions, ultimately leading to coma.

In addition, because of the increase in pressure within blood vessels, fluid leaks from the vessels. It may leak into the abdomen (ascites) or into the tissues, particularly of the legs (edema).

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Comment from: shelley2655, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 11

I was diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease on Friday. I was quite shocked and the doctor's physician assistant didn"t explain much about it, just that my enzymes were elevated and to eat a fat free diet. I was also told this could turn into cirrhosis of the liver, pretty scary. I have pain in the right side just under my ribcage and it radiates around to my back. I did find that laying on my right side helps relieve the pain. I did some research and I had every symptom. GERD, change in bowel habits, flaky patches on my skin, tiredness, no energy, etc.

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Comment from: BNM52, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 18

I wonder if treatment for breast cancer can cause fatty liver. I had large amounts of steroids to prevent allergic reaction. My eyes were yellow and I had a rash that itched and looked like poison ivy. At one point my toenails and fingernails turned yellow, were thick and raised up. I lost some toenails. They cancelled my treatment for those 2 weeks. I told my doctor that I thought I needed to do a liver cleanse because I was toxic. They told me I had a fatty liver.

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