There are three different levels of fatty liver: Grade 1, 2, and 3.
Grade 1 is the beginning stages of a fatty liver
and generally has the fewest symptoms as well as the best prognosis.
As fatty liver progresses to Grade 2, Hepatitis and Grade 3, Cirrhosis,
the condition gets much more serious and may require hospitalization.
Here are some basic facts about Grade 1 Fatty Liver:
You may not have any symptoms at all during this stage.
You may discover you have fatty liver when you are at your annual check-up
and the test results showed elevated liver enzymes.
The ALT enzyme will be elevated on the blood test.
During Grade 1 Fatty Liver,
your body is depositing fat cells around the outside of the liver.
This still allows your liver to perform its 300+ functions
for the most part, since there are billions of liver cells and
most of them are still working.
The cause of Grade 1 Fatty Liver
could be alcohol consumption, medications, diabetes, obesity, tuberculosis (use of the drug isoniazid causes fatty liver),
poor diet, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and other causes.
Ultrasound, CT scans (computerized tomography), and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be used to diagnose Grade 1 Fatty Liver.
A biopsy of the liver may be ordered
if your condition is rapidly progressing.
The purpose of this test is to find liver scarring which can indicate cirrhosis of the liver, a worse condition.
Cirrhosis may have a poor prognosis compared to the reversible condition of Grade 1 Fatty Liver.
Grade 1 Fatty Liver is reversible if you initiate diet changes at this point.
For example, it’s a MUST to stop drinking alcohol, which is a clear liver cell killer.
It’s important to add antioxidants to the diet and to eat plenty of vegetables.
At this stage of fatty liver, it’s not imperative to restrict protein.
If you’ve discovered you have Fatty Liver Grade 1,
then whatever you do, don’t get depressed.
Just get busy.
Clean up your diet,
clean out your refrigerator and your cabinets
and make a commitment to move forward with your health.
Give up the alcohol and start spending less time with your friends
who you tend to drink alcohol with – or convince them all to go the healthy way.
You can also sign up for some healthy eating cooking classes.
Bring good things into your life to replace your old habits.
It’s the easy way to change – before it’s too late.
Fatty Liver Grade 2
In Fatty Liver Grade 2, more and more fat is being deposited as triglycerides.
The fat forms vacuoles in the cells
and displaces more of the cell contents, making them dysfunctional.
Symptoms start appearing more rapidly in Grade 2 than in Grade 1
and the condition is definitely more serious.
Those with this condition need medical care.
The cause of Fatty Liver Grade 2 could be a number of things, including:
- metabolic syndrome
- certain medications that cause fatty liver
- genetic disorders of high blood fats (cholesterol, triglycerides)
Depending on the progression of Fatty Liver Grade 2,
there may be symptoms such as abdominal pain,
bruising in the body,
spontaneous bleeding such as nosebleeds,
extreme fatigue, fever, itching skin, moodiness, and belly enlargement.
The area of the liver in the body may hurt most of the day.
Blood tests will show elevated liver enzymes.
And because in Grade 2 Fatty Liver,
you will also have inflammation,
the condition has now progressed to hepatitis.
In some cases, hepatitis may require hospitalization.
Fatty liver has been described as a health issue where free radicals are causing a lot of damage to the liver.
Unless someone with Fatty Liver Grade 2 can decrease these free radicals,
the damage will continue.
One of the main causes of the excess free radicals is alcohol consumption.
Another way is to eat foods that are high in unsaturated fats.
Although some health organizations emphasize
the viewpoint that it’s saturated fat causing the problem,
more and more evidence leads to the proving of the idea that
it’s been the unsaturated fats all along that have been the culprits.
Chemically speaking, saturated fat is stable both at room temperature and in the body.
However, it’s the unsaturated fats that generate the free radicals
and cause the damage.
Thus it behooves you to remove all vegetable oils –
corn, soy, safflower, canola, and vegetable from your diet.
The liver is a regenerative organ
and if you’re at Grade 2,
you should make every effort to change your daily habits.
The opportunity is now and if the condition progresses,
you may not have the chance again.
The primary consideration is alcohol consumption.
Moderation is not the key here –
and never is when a fatty liver has already formed.
Abstinence is the only solution.
Diet changes are next.
If you are still eating a lot of refined carbohydrates,
it’s time to stop right now.
The primary reason is that these are the biggest influence
on your triglyceride levels in the body,
and it’s triglycerides that are accumulating in the liver.
Fatty Liver Grade 3 is the most serious of all.
In this condition, the liver has the accumulation of fat.
It has spread throughout the entire liver.
It has now become inflamed.
The inflammation in the liver calls upon the rest of the body
to help and circulation is sent in to try to remedy the situation
but the liver is too weak to even respond.
The arteries and veins are having a difficult time
trying to pump in nutrients and pump out toxins.
Congestion is appearing.
The patient’s skin takes on a yellow color from jaundice.
At this point, you may see caput medusa.
This is where the veins of the abdomen become visible through the skin.
It may appear as if there is a snake
right under the surface of the skin over the abdomen.
The abdomen is distended as well.
There is also cirrhosis of the liver,
where normal liver cells are being replaced by fibrotic cells
that have the appearance of scarring.
The more scarring in the cells, the less chance of having normal function.
Blood tests will show elevated liver enzymes – ALT and AST.
There will be abnormal levels of albumin and the Prothrombin levels
This occurs because the liver is unable to make clotting factors.
Symptoms are worsening in Grade 3.
The condition may progress to the point where the patient
becomes unconscious and is in a coma or
to the point where kidney dialysis is needed.
At this point, diet changes are drastic.
Calorie intake has been reduced significantly
because the body cannot process food.
The protein levels in the diet are low because
the liver can’t detoxify the protein.
This is an oxymoron because protein is needed to rebuild the liver!
Salt intake has been severely restricted.
Still, there are diet changes you can make to feel better.
Changing to a healthy diet is always a good idea,
as is eliminating alcohol from your diet.