By Dr Karen Coates
Fatty liver is a condition usually diagnosed after blood tests show abnormally high levels of liver enzymes. According to the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, this condition affects over 30% of adult Australians. Fatty liver is the accumulation of fat cells within the liver cells, a place where it is not meant to be stored.
Healthy liver cells are toxic waste recycling centres. The enzymes which do the work should be contained within these cells. When high levels of four measurable enzymes are detected in venous blood it implies that these liver cells have been damaged and enzymes ‘leaked’ out into the bloodstream. The amount of liver damage is directly proportional to the levels of these enzymes.
Ultrasound of the liver confirms the presence of unusual amounts of fat deposited around each liver cell.
As well as the medical problems which are throught to cause the problem, having a fatty liver increases the risk of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer in small numbers of sufferers.
Although sensible alcohol intake is an important part of treating this disease, recent studies show that the cause of the problem is overwhelmingly related to obesity and insulin resistance.
Many doctors believe that the condition is irreversible, but with treatment, our Clinic regularly sees improvement in Liver Function Tests, often back to a normal range. This involes a Holistic approach to the problem, a lifestyle change and herbal support for the liver.