How Do I Know if I Have FLD or Cirrhosis?

Summary: Without proper care, fatty liver disease can lead to cirrhosis, a health problem that damages the liver and may cause symptoms like jaundice.

Keeping a well-functioning GI system is necessary for having good total health, and among the most important organs of the digestive system is the liver. The liver is in control of various important operations, such as breaking down carbohydrates, fats and proteins, generating bile, preserving glycogen and minerals, excreting hormones and drugs, and many more. But when the liver is impacted by disease, it can have a harmful effect on your general quality of life. A couple of these illnesses are hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease) and cirrhosis. At Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates, our exceedingly experienced staff of gastroenterologists in Hinsdale, IL partner with patients to better understand their medical concerns and discern any conditions.

What is fatty liver disease?

A fatty liver is an issue defined by the existence of adipocytes in the liver. This disease has a couple of basic types: alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Whereas AFLD can be attributed to excessive drinking, NAFLD may be prompted by type 2 diabetes, obesity, or lipid disorder, and it is the sole most prevalent type of hepatic steatosis in the United States. It is hard to know if you are experiencing a fatty liver considering that the condition usually does not generate any obvious signs; however, it can be diagnosed by our Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates team via a blood test, diagnostic imaging, or sometimes a biopsy of the liver.

What is cirrhosis of the liver?

If you practice lifestyle habits that cause harm to the liver, it's possible that you could develop cirrhosis. Cirrhosis of the liver is marked by the development of scars on top of healthy liver tissue, which deteriorates over time. Cirrhosis is not a disease that starts overnight; instead, it is normally an effect of years of impairment to the liver, whether by excessive alcohol use or from another disease that remains untreated for many years. Similar to fatty liver disease, the early points of cirrhosis of the liver do not often cause symptoms to show up. Nevertheless, signs of cirrhosis you might encounter as scar tissue continues to increase are:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Dark urine
  • Fluid retention
  • Nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice
  • Irregular stools

Key differences between cirrhosis and fatty liver disease

Although fatty liver disease and cirrhosis both affect the liver, it's important to note a few primary differences.

  1. Fatty liver disease is defined by the existence of fat cells in the liver while cirrhosis involves the growth of scarring on top of healthy areas.
  2. Both groups of fatty liver disease (AFLD and NAFLD) could result in cirrhosis when not addressed.
  3. Both illnesses take many years to form, but cirrhosis of the liver is a significantly more serious concern.
  4. Hepatic steatosis is significantly more common.

In the event that you have one of these issues, you should receive care as soon as you can. Though both problems can be long lasting, having your symptoms managed and your health cared for is essential for your well-being.

Improve the health of your liver

Hinsdale Gastroenterology Associates is glad to feature a highly capable staff of talented gastroenterologists who have a thorough knowledge of the gastrointestinal system and the life-giving components that make it up. We work diligently to find out about your concerns to the most exhaustive degree and use innovative medical equipment to offer the most reliable analysis of your illness. To learn more about improving the health of your liver or to schedule a visit, reach out to our team in Hinsdale, IL today.