Fatty liver disease occurs when fat accumulates in the liver; it can develop as a result of heavy alcohol consumption or due to other, unknown factors. The former is known as alcoholic fatty liver disease, while the latter nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). And both iterations of the disease are tricky to diagnose, as they’re typically asymptomatic.
Your treatment plan for fatty liver disease will likely depend on the origin of your condition:
If you have alcoholic fatty liver disease, the most important step to take is to cut alcohol out of your diet. If you’re having a hard time doing so, Medline Plus recommends you enroll in a sobriety program or begin seeing a therapist. There are also medications you can take to help aid in this process: some will make you feel ill if you consume alcohol, and others can curb your cravings for it.
If you have NAFLD, doctors typically recommend losing weight as a primary form of treatment. Weight loss may help reduce fibrosis (scarring), inflammation, and fat content in the liver. Your doctor could also help track down any medication that may be the culprit behind your NAFLD, but it’s important to discuss how to taper off it with your physician. While there are currently no approved medications for NAFLD, there are some ongoing studies looking into whether or not Vitamin E and a certain diabetes medication are able to help treat it.
The following are some lifestyle adjustments you can make that may help if you have either form of fatty liver disease:
- Regular exercise. This can help you lose weight and, in turn, lower the amount of fat in your liver.
- A healthy diet. This means eating plenty of fruits, whole grains, and veggies, while limiting your intake of salt and sugar.
- Getting the proper vaccinations. This includes vaccines for hepatitis A and B, pneumococcal disease, and the flu. If you have fatty liver and contract hepatitis A or B, your chances of liver failure increase. Additionally, individuals with chronic liver disease are more vulnerable to infection, making other vaccines important to get.
- Open conversation with your doctor about dietary supplements. Some supplements–even vitamins–can damage the liver.
The Ezra MRI scan may help you identify fatty liver disease; you can learn more about our scanning packages here.