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Blog / Liver Health

Fatty Liver Disease and Hepatitis C

Jan. 20 2020 by Sheherzad Raza Preisler Blog Editor
Fatty Liver Disease and Hepatitis C

Fatty Liver Disease is a condition that’s caused by the buildup of fat in your liver. There are two major subtypes:

Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AFLD), aka alcoholic steatohepatitis

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

AFLD is caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol. On the other hand, specialists have yet to pin down what exactly causes NAFLD, though they have identified several risk factors that could increase your likelihood of developing it. These include but are not limited to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and prediabetes.

NAFLD has two further subtypes:

Simple Fatty Liver. In this case, there is fat in your liver, but minimal or no damage or inflammation in your liver cells. In general, this condition doesn’t get severe enough to lead to liver damage or other complications.

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). If you have NASH, your liver is inflamed and its cells have been damaged. NASH can ultimately lead to fibrosis (scarring) of the liver, as well as liver cancer or cirrhosis.

Another risk factor that could increase your likelihood of developing Fatty Liver Disease is having Hepatitis C. According to the Hepatitis C trust, Fatty Liver is seen about 2.5 times more frequently in individuals who have Hepatitis C compared to the general population. Additionally, biopsies in individuals who have Hepatitis C and Fatty Liver generally show fat accumulation around the portal areas as opposed to in the middle of the liver lobules; the latter is generally seen in individuals with NAFLD. This, then, hints that it is the Hepatitis C virus that triggers Fatty Liver, as opposed to other potential factors.

There are also different genotypes for the Hepatitis C virus; it has been discovered that the risk of developing Fatty Liver is markedly higher in individuals with the genotype 3 iteration of Hepatitis C. This is because there’s been found to be an intricate reaction between liver cells and the genotype 3 virus that doesn’t occur with other genotypes. Between 60 and 80 percent of individuals with the genotype 3 type of Hepatitis C experience moderate to severe Fatty Liver. That being said, antiviral treatment can significantly reduce or perhaps even eliminate Fatty Liver in those with genotype 3; this doesn’t appear to be the case with other Hepatitis C genotypes.

The Ezra abdominal, torso, and full-body scans may identify Fatty Liver Disease if you have it. If you’d like to learn more about our offerings, you may do so here.