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April, 2023

How to Treat Fatty Liver

Fatty liver, also known as hepatic steatosis, is a condition where excess fat accumulates in the liver. Normally, the liver contains some amount of fat, but when the amount of fat exceeds 5% to 10% of the liver's weight, it is considered a fatty liver. Fatty liver can be caused by various factors such as obesity, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, excessive alcohol consumption, and certain medications.

If left untreated, fatty liver can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver failure. Therefore, it is important to consult with a liver specialist for diagnosis and treat fatty liver as early as possible to prevent complications. In this article, we will discuss the causes and treatment options for fatty liver.

Causes of Fatty Liver

Fatty liver can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese is one of the most common causes of fatty liver. Excess fat in the body can accumulate in the liver, leading to fatty liver.
  • High blood sugar and cholesterol: People with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance are more likely to develop fatty liver. Also, high levels of cholesterol in the blood can cause fat to build up in the liver.
  • Pregnancy: Some women develop fatty liver during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester.
  • Inherited disorders: Certain genetic disorders such as familial hypercholesterolemia can cause fatty liver.
  • Rapid weight loss: Losing weight too quickly can cause fat to build up in the liver, leading to fatty liver.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time can cause fat to build up in the liver, leading to alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as the name suggests is when fatty liver occurs without alcohol use due to metabolic conditions as listed above.

Treatment for Fatty Liver

Lifestyle Changes:
The first and most important step in treating fatty liver is to make lifestyle changes. Losing weight, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy and balanced diet can help reduce the amount of fat in the liver. Reducing calorie intake and avoiding sugary and fatty foods can help prevent further fat accumulation in the liver.

Several medications can be used to treat fatty liver. However, these should only be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Medications such as metformin, pioglitazone, and vitamin E have been shown to improve liver function and reduce inflammation in people with fatty liver. Obeticholic acid is another newer drug which can be used in certain subsets of fatty liver. 

Control blood sugar and cholesterol levels:
Controlling blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels is crucial in the treatment of fatty liver. High levels of blood sugar and cholesterol can cause further damage to the liver and increase the risk of liver disease. Medications such as statins can help lower cholesterol levels, while medications such as insulin can help control blood sugar levels.

Avoid alcohol:
If you have fatty liver, it is essential to avoid alcohol or limit your intake significantly. Alcohol consumption can cause further damage to the liver and increase the risk of liver disease. If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, seek professional help.

Manage underlying conditions:
Fatty liver can be caused by underlying conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Managing these underlying conditions is crucial in the treatment of fatty liver. Speak with your healthcare professional about the best approach to managing these conditions.

Liver transplantation:
In severe cases of fatty liver where the liver is damaged beyond repair, a liver transplant may be necessary. A liver transplant involves replacing the damaged liver with a healthy liver from a donor. This is usually reserved for cases where all other treatment options have failed. Sakra World Hospital has the best liver transplant surgeon in Bangalore to treat a failing liver.  

In conclusion, fatty liver is a common condition that can lead to serious liver damage if left untreated. Making lifestyle changes such as losing weight, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet, along with medications and managing underlying conditions, can help treat fatty liver. If you are struggling with fatty liver, you can consult with doctors at Sakra World Hospital, the best liver treatment hospital in Bangalore, and know the best approach to managing your condition.



Dr Shruthi Reddy

Consultant HepatoBiliary-Pancreatic and Liver Transplant Surgeon

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