“The Vital Role of the Liver in the Body’s Digestive and Metabolic System: Functions and Significance”
Liver is an important part of the digestive/metabolic system of the body. It is the largest solid organ and the largest gland in the body. It performs plenty of tasks including regulation of metabolism, production of clotting proteins, and blood detoxification. It is the only organ that can generate.
A healthy liver functions quite efficiently. However, like other organs in the body, it can be affected by various disease processes leading from mild to fatal outcomes. Fatty liver is one such disease of the liver.
What is Fatty Liver?
Fatty liver as a broad term refers to the deposition of fat in the liver. This condition is quite common, existing in the general population without any symptoms. This is usually detected during a routine ultrasound. This a progressive disease ranging from steatosis to cirrhosis/cancer and liver failure due to liver scarring and loss of normal liver tissue said Dr. Hemanth Kr Kasargod, Consultant- GI, MAS, and bariatrics surgery at Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj.
He said, when the fat content of the liver increases to greater than 5-10%, its function can become significantly impaired. The fatty liver is resistant to the action of insulin to suppress hepatic glucose production, which results in hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia.
What Causes Fatty Liver?
According to Dr. Kasargod, Fatty liver is generally classified into the following categories (which have different causes but result in similar liver damages.)
Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD): It is caused by high alcohol consumption (>20gms/20ml per day)
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): It occurs for reasons other than alcohol consumption (It is often associated with symptoms of insulin resistance (a condition affecting fat metabolism) including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia.
Others: Medications (such as corticosteroids, certain antidepressants and antipsychotics, Amiodarone and Methotrexate), hepatitis infections, auto-immune or inherited liver disease, fast weight loss, and malnutrition.
Obesity is considered the single most independent predictor of fatty liver.
In an exclusive interaction with Healthwire, Dr Hemanth Kumar, Consultant -surgical gastroenterology, Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road shared some tips to keep your liver healthy:
“Fatty liver is a very common problem in today’s world and lifestyle, this was a common problem in the western society but now this is an only in our society too. In order to understand what fatty liver is, it is important to know whether the person is alcoholic or not because alcohol generally leads to liver diseases,” said Dr Hemanth Kumar.