How Does Fatty Liver Disease Lead to Liver Cirrhosis?

Maintaining a well-functioning gastrointestinal (GI) system is essential for maintaining good general wellness, and among the most fundamental parts of the GI tract is the liver. Positioned adjacent to the stomach, the liver helps ensure several important health processes, including digesting fats, carbohydrates and proteins, preserving minerals and glycogen, excreting hormones and drugs, supplying bile, and many more. But in the event the liver becomes diseased, it can produce a negative outcome on your overall health and lead to concerning conditions, such as fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, our highly proficient GI specialists partner closely with patients throughout Dallas, TX to listen to their health concerns and diagnose any liver issues.

What causes fatty liver disease?

Hepatic steatosis is an illness characterized by the presence of excess fat cells inside the liver. This disease has two principal categories: nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD). Although AFLD is a result of heavy drinking, NAFLD could be induced by type 2 diabetes, obesity, or lipid disorder, and is the most prevalent type of liver disease among Americans. It can be difficult to recognize whether you are experiencing a fatty liver due to the fact that the illness normally does not generate any obvious indications. However, the GI doctors at Digestive Health Associates of Texas can diagnose the condition through blood work, medical imaging, or sometimes a liver biopsy.

Common symptoms of liver cirrhosis

If you maintain a way of life that triggers toxicity to the liver, it is possible that you could develop cirrhosis. Cirrhosis of the liver is described as the growth of fibrotic tissue over normal areas of tissue, which is destroyed over time. Cirrhosis is not an illness that begins immediately. It is typically an outcome of years of impairment to the liver, either via excessive alcohol use or from another health condition that stays unaddressed for a long time. Like hepatic steatosis, the beginning phases of cirrhosis usually do not usually cause indications that are readily apparent. However, common symptoms of cirrhosis you might encounter as scarring proceeds to develop include:

  • Nausea
  • Orange or brown urine
  • Oedema
  • Memory issues
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Jaundice
  • Discomfort near the area of the liver
  • Tiredness
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Trouble sleeping

These are just a few of the effects that could occur as the disease intensifies over time.

Key differences between fatty liver disease and cirrhosis

Though fatty liver disease and cirrhosis are both conditions of the liver, there are a few main differences.

  1. Fatty liver disease is characterized by the buildup of fat in the liver, while cirrhosis involves the development of scar tissue over normal areas of tissue.
  2. Both types of fatty liver disease (NAFLD and AFLD) might result in cirrhosis when not addressed in time.
  3. The two conditions take a long while to form, but cirrhosis of the liver warrants a substantially more serious concern.
  4. A fatty liver is considerably more prevalent.

In the event that you are diagnosed with either of these conditions, it is crucial to seek treatment immediately. While both conditions could be long lasting, having your illness addressed and your liver health checked is essential for your quality of life.

Keep your liver in good health

Digestive Health Associates of Texas is pleased to feature a tremendously qualified team of talented doctors who have a deep knowledge of the digestive tract and the life-giving organs that make it up. We strive to learn about your concerns to the fullest degree and provide the latest in diagnostic technology to provide you with the most reliable diagnosis of liver conditions. To schedule an exam, or to learn more about fatty liver disease and cirrhosis, reach out to our practice in Dallas, TX today.