01/5This morning symptom could be indicative of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
We are all aware of the damage alcohol causes to the liver. It is one of the sole reasons behind the buildup of fat in the liver, leading to fatty liver disease (steatosis). However, there are two types of fatty liver disease: alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. While the former is caused due to heavy alcohol use, the latter is not associated with alcohol consumption.
According to India's National Health Portal (NHP), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a leading cause of chronic liver diseases globally. NAFLD affects about 25% of the global adult population ranging from 13.5% in Africa to 31.8% in the Middle East. The prevalence of NAFLD in India is about 9% to 32%, as reported by the health body.
Given the alarming statistics, it is important to understand what this condition is and to note the common and unusual symptoms associated with it. Let us find out all about it in detail.
02/5What is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition in which excess amounts of fat build up in the liver. This deposition of fat however is not associated or related to alcohol use.
NAFLD can be of two types: simple fatty liver (NAFL) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Simple fatty liver refers to the condition wherein fat is deposited in the liver but there is no sign of inflammation and liver damage.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a more severe form of NAFLD, since it not only involves fat deposits, but also inflammation of the liver cells, leading to fibrosis, or scarring of the liver. This can further cause complications leading to cirrhosis or liver cancer.
03/5Beware of this symptom when you wake up in the morning
As far as symptoms are concerned, it can range from unnoticeable to severe health issues. One particular symptom may arise especially in the morning when you wake up and that is fatigue.
Feeling tired or weary is something we all experience irrespective of whether we suffer from a chronic illness or not. But experts warn against taking this symptom lightly, especially when it's frequent.
If you find yourself waking up tired, as though you haven't slept at all, let your physician know about it.
04/5Other warning signs of NAFLD
Besides fatigue, there are many other symptoms of NAFLD. These include:
- Discomfort or pain in the upper right abdomen
- Abdominal swelling
- Enlarged spleen
- Enlarged blood vessels right below the skin surface
- Unexplained or unintentional weight loss
- Red palms.
05/5Who is at risk?
While the exact cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is not known, researchers believe it is prevalent in people who are diabetic and obese.
People with high levels of fats in the blood, such as cholesterol and triglycerides or those who have high blood pressure are also at an increased risk of the disease.
Certain drugs including corticosteroids and some cancer drugs can also be a risk factor for the illness.