Fatty liver is accumulation of excess fat in the liver because of faulty fat metabolism in the liver. Traditionally known to occur in association with excessive alcohol intake, this disease is now reaching epidemic proportions in the developed countries due to the non-alcoholic variant. The non-alcoholic fatty liver occurs in association with metabolic syndrome consisting of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and hyperlipidaemia.
There are usually no associated symptoms. It may be diagnosed during an ultrasound examination done as part of a routine health check. If there is excessive fat accumulation the liver gets inflamed. The patient may experience fullness on the right side of the abdomen along with indigestion. Cause of the disease may be assessed with investigations that check the weight, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and a test to detect an over or under active thyroid. Blood tests, an ultrasound and in some cases, a liver biopsy can help assess the degree of damage to the liver.
Prevention is the best treatment and if uncontrolled can even end up in liver failure. A new study has revealed that omega-3 fatty acids could be of significant value in the prevention of fatty liver disease. Scientists have now developed a synthetic drug that can reverse fatty liver disease. A biological switch that regulates a protein that causes fatty liver disease has been discovered by scientists. This discovery could eventually lead to interventions that could help people suffering from obesity-induced fatty liver disease and diabetes.