There is a condition that can become a disease that ends up being very complicated for the person who suffers from it, I am talking about Fatty liver. I think that almost 100% of people have some fat in the liver, it can be something normal, especially conditioned by poor diet, this is the main factor that causes it, for this reason, goes hand in hand with U.S. statistics that report that up to 25% of people in the U.S. suffer from it.
On the other hand, there is the condition of Alcoholism, this harmful habit also causes a fatty liver but the cause is totally related to the intake of alcohol in excess.
I would like to talk about both in this publication, although the origin may be different, the sequence of liver damage is usually similar and the long-term consequences are practically the same.
Based on the above we could classify this disease into two forms, which in turn speaks to the cause:
1) Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
2) Alcoholic fatty liver disease, also called alcoholic hepatic steatosis
As I mentioned earlier the ways in which this is expressed are similar. And to understand why it causes certain symptoms it is important to understand the functions that the liver has in our body.
- It is the largest organ in our body (after the skin), it has functions in conjunction with various body systems.
- We can say that it is the "laboratory " of our organism, it is in charge of processing 24 hours a day various substances that are metabolic wastes, and that process them to facilitate their elimination and also make them less toxic in the process (example: bilirubin).
- They produce substances that are necessary for the proper functioning of the body, such as some involved in the control of blood pressure, blood clotting, in the process of digestion.
- They are an important source of body energy reserves in the form of glycogen.
These functions alone are more than important and show the importance of the liver and the need for its proper functioning in our body.
As I have explained in other publications, our body is composed of systems, the systems in turn by organs and these by different types of cells that are in permanent intimate relationship.
In the case of the liver the cells are called hematocytes, which have a high energy consumption (which translates to high need for blood, oxygen and glucose), in addition the blood vessels are necessary to collect metabolic wastes.
This implies that between one cell and another there should not be any kind of obstacle, considering that their metabolism is very high. In the following image I will show schematically how liver tissue can be seen in a microscopic view.
It can be noted that under normal conditions the conditions are in place for cells to communicate quickly, for blood vessels to flow through the tissue, and for all functions to run smoothly.
Now, the fatty liver completely interferes in the correct function of this organ, making it not work well at a functional level, but also in the structure generates a great damage as well, which ends up leaving important sequels that limit the life of the person in the long run and can lead to really serious diseases.
As you can see in the following image, when fat cells begin to appear in the liver, when fat tissue accumulates it begins to limit the communication between cells, even hinders the blood vessels, and decreases the possibility of delivering the necessary nutrients as well as properly collect metabolic waste, which ends up producing an inflammatory process.
This is a big problem, because the inflammation process even ends up causing small lesions in the liver that with the passage of time become fibrosis, which, if repeated, produces a small space of dysfunction of the organ, which if repeated dozens of times we will have a fairly widespread fibrotic process that ends up being irreversible.
And that is where the serious problem is, that there is a moment in which the surface of the organ that has been damaged in the process is so much that it ends up by fibrosis being insufficient for it to perform its functions, additionally it is not only fibrosis that can be produced but also end up in liver cirrhosis, and from then on the only solution is a liver transplant, fortunately, most people do not reach that point, but it is within the possibilities of complications.
The main problem for this is that eating habits and excessive alcohol intake is usually very common, something normal in the modern world, that's why I say that most people have fatty liver, even without knowing it.
And therein lies the other big problem, that the symptoms do not manifest themselves until the disease is very advanced, which makes the diagnosis very late, which complicates the evolution even more, because it does not allow the necessary corrective measures to be taken in time.
It is logical to think that in the case of the one originated by alcohol, reducing or eliminating the intake is the key to it. But as there are no medications that work for it, and the other most common cause is bad eating habits, it is necessary to improve this part, in addition to exercise regularly, only with that, the condition tends to improve, as long as there is not a considerable advance in the fibrosis process or a cirrhosis process is not established, of course.
Therefore, the disease may be ongoing and people may not know it until it is already well advanced. But, as long as we have a good diet, in theory, we should be safe from this very complex condition.