Having a healthy digestive system is important to maintain excellent physical health, and one of the most important parts of the GI system is the liver. Located by the stomach, the liver helps ensure various crucial operations, such as digesting fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, creating bile, storing minerals and glycogen, eliminating hormones and drugs, and many more. But when the liver becomes diseased, it can have a damaging impact on your overall well-being. Two of these problems that can develop are fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. At Adult Gastroenterology Associates, our highly experienced staff of physicians in Tulsa, Oklahoma work closely with patients to better understand their medical needs and discern any illnesses.
What causes fatty liver disease?
A fatty liver is an issue distinguished by the presence of adipocytes in the liver. This disease has a couple of basic classifications: nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD). While AFLD results from an excess of alcohol consumption, NAFLD can be induced by obesity, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol, and it is the most widespread kind of FLD in the country. It is hard to discern whether you are experiencing hepatic steatosis because the condition normally does not show any noticeable signs; however, it can be detected by our team with a blood test, diagnostic imaging, or possibly a liver biopsy.
Signs of liver cirrhosis
Ongoing damage to the liver over a long period of time can eventually lead to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis of the liver is characterized as the development of fibrotic tissue over healthy liver tissue. Cirrhosis is not a problem that forms overnight; rather, it is typically an effect of years of harm to the liver, either via excess alcohol use or from a separate condition that goes unaddressed for many years. Like fatty liver condition, the early points of cirrhosis do not typically cause symptoms to show up. However, signs of cirrhosis you could experience as scarring continues to increase are:
- Low energy
- Discomfort in the abdomen
- Problems sleeping
- Darker than normal urine
- Memory problems
- Gums that bleed easily
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes
- Changes in bowel movements
- Water retention
Key differences between fatty liver disease and cirrhosis
Though fatty liver disease and cirrhosis are both diseases of the liver, there are a number of primary distinctions.
- Fatty liver disease is identified by the existence of fat cells within the liver; however, cirrhosis is the formation of scarring on top of healthy areas.
- Both variations of fatty liver disease (NAFLD and AFLD) may result in cirrhosis when not addressed.
- The two problems take years to progress, but cirrhosis of the liver warrants a significantly more severe concern.
- Fatty liver disease is much more common.
If you’re diagnosed by a gastroenterology physician with either of these conditions, it’s crucial to get treatment immediately. Though both conditions could be long-lasting, having your symptoms treated and your wellness checked is essential for your well-being.
Improve the condition of your liver
Adult Gastroenterology Associates is proud to feature a tremendously qualified team of experienced gastroenterologists who have a thorough understanding of the digestive system and the life-giving components that make it up. We strive to find out about your problems to the most exhaustive extent and offer cutting-edge diagnostic equipment to provide you with the most precise analysis of your problem. To arrange an exam and learn about your liver health, contact our team in Tulsa today.