Stating that eating disorders, obesity and diabetes cause fatty liver disease, experts said that one out of four people in Turkey has this disease.
Expressing that fatty liver disease can be simply defined as the accumulation of more fat in the liver than normal, experts said that the accumulation of excess fat in the liver of people who do not drink alcohol can lead to simple fatty liver disease and liver inflammation due to fatty liver. Stating that alcohol, some drugs, hepatitis C virus, and some metabolic diseases can cause fatty liver disease, Medicana Bursa Hospital Gastroenterology Specialist Dr. Murat Keskin said, “However, in order to diagnose non-alcoholic liver disease, there must be no other disease that can cause fatty liver disease. Today, with the increase in eating disorders, obesity and diabetes, their frequency is also increasing. According to studies, approximately 45 percent of patients with liver inflammation due to fatty liver progress over time, and liver cirrhosis is seen in an average of 8 to 26 percent of these patients.
Pointing out the importance of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Keskin said, “While the people diagnosed with obesity all over the world were 400 million in 2008, it reached 700 million people in 2015. In Turkey, 30 percent of the population has been diagnosed with obesity. That is about 23 million people. Likewise, diabetes is increasing gradually and its incidence reaches up to 9 percent in the society. In this context, the frequency of fatty liver disease in Turkey is 25 percent.
Expressing that there is no specific symptom of fatty liver disease, Keskin said, “Most of the patients are asymptomatic, so most of them have no complaints. The diagnosis is made incidentally on blood tests and ultrasound. However, a small number of patients may have complaints of weakness, fatigue, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, swelling, and a feeling of fullness. In the diagnosis, examination of liver tests (such as AST, ALT, GGT and ALP) in the blood and evaluation of the liver with ultrasound are the most common and simplest tests. In more advanced stages, a kind of specialized ultrasound device called fibroscan, some specific blood tests and liver biopsy can be used.
Stating that diet and exercise have been the best treatment for fatty liver disease so far, Keskin said, “It is important to lose weight slowly and in a balanced way. There is no definitive treatment with medication yet. Some blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol medications have been found to be beneficial. It is recommended that this group of patients do not consume alcohol, do not consume excessive fruit, and avoid fructose-containing ready-made fruit juices and soft drinks. Another important point is not to use so-called herbal and organic products without researching and consulting a doctor.