Fatty Liver Disease: Causes
1. Alcohol abuse
Alcohol consumption is the biggest reason behind fatty liver disease. There is always a risk of fatty liver disease for men who drink more than 70 ml alcohol per day for 20 years. For women, this limit is 20 ml per day. As far as the drinking pattern is concerned, consumption of alcohol outside of the meal times increases the risk of fatty liver disease up to 3 times. Studies have proven that regular consumption of alcohol increases the risk of fatty liver disease from 7% to 47%, in both men and women.
Obesity is one of the biggest side effects of today’s fast paced lifestyle we are leading. It is a common observation that most people suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are quite overweight. Especially, those who are obese around the waist are considered to be at higher risk of suffering from fatty liver disease. If a person is suffering from obesity along with certain other health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, etc. then he/she is at a greater risk of fatty liver disease.
What a person eats, plays a major role in building his/her health. Hence, the diet plays an important role when it comes to fatty liver disease. Unhealthy diet is a major cause of concern in many cases of fatty liver disease. Practices like consuming fatty foods and various other foods that lead to obesity; or avoiding nutritious food items and fresh vegetables in an attempt to lose weight are likely to make that person to be at the risk of fatty liver disease. It is important to have a balanced and healthy diet. Avoiding high cholesterol as well as high calorie foods is a must for those who want to avoid the risk of fatty liver disease. Those who experience sudden weight loss or are suffering from malnutrition; are also at an equal risk of suffering from this disease.
People who have undergone several surgeries that are related to liver or other digestive organs like intestine, stomach or gall bladder, are at the risk of fatty liver disease. Especially those, who have undergone gastric bypass, jejuno-ileal bypass, or other surgeries related to the digestive system may need to take extra precautionary measures for fatty liver disease. People who, at any point of their lives have to depend on total parenteral nutrition are also at the risk of fatty liver disease.
5. Metabolic disorder
Healthy rate of metabolism is a sign of a healthy body. Low metabolic levels lead to issues like weight gain, obesity, diabetes, digestive disorders and also issues during pregnancy. People with weak rate of metabolism are naturally at the risk of several health concerned conditions, including fatty liver disease. Health conditions like lipodystrophy, Weber-Christian disease, abetalipoproteinemia, acute fatty liver of pregnancy, glycogen storage disease, and other such metabolic disorders put the concerned person at higher risk of getting affected with fatty liver disease. As a result, those who have been a patient of the aforementioned health conditions, need to be extra cautious about fatty liver disease.
6. Glucose metabolism
As mentioned in the previous parts of the article, insulin resistance is a significant cause behind non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Insulin resistance is a condition wherein the body can’t utilize the insulin in the proper manner, which creates problems in the process of glucose metabolism. Improper transport of insulin also affects the usage of the excess of glucose which is saved in the liver. Insulin resistance affects transport of insulin and glucose in the blood system and leads to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
7. Vitamin deficiencies
Vitamins and minerals are a major source of health for us. Deficiency of any of the various vitamins and minerals prove to be a leading cause for various ailments. As far as fatty liver disease is concerned, deficiency of vital vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin E, can aggravate the alcoholic fatty liver disease. It is a general observation that most alcoholic people suffer from vitamin deficiencies due to poor diet and anorexia. People with sever alcoholism suffer from encephalopathy, which a major contributor to fatty liver disease caused by alcohol. Slow reduction of alcohol consumption and increasing intake of various nutritious fruits and vegetable prove vital in the maintenance of vitamin balance in a patient’s body.
8. Gender and genetics
Gender and genetics are two of the top causes of fatty liver disease. For instance, some studies show that females are twice as more likely to suffer from alcoholic fatty liver disease than men. They may also develop it with even the shortest duration of chronic alcohol abuse. Apart from gender, there are a few genetic factors that are needed to be considered. For instance, people who are mono-zygotic twins have higher chances of suffering with liver related disease like liver cirrhosis than other people, including dizygotic twins. This phenomenon is evident because of the the polymorphisms of various digestive enzymes that cause alcohol metabolism. These polymorphisms include, ALDH, ADH, CYP4502E1, cytokine polymorphism, and mitochondrial dysfunction.
Various prescribed as well as over-the-counter drugs are also some of the top causes for fatty liver disease. Similarly, people who practice drug abuse are also at a higher risk of suffering with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Some of these drugs include, methotrexate, amiodarone, diltiazem, tamoxifen, glucocorticoids, expired Tetracycline, phosphorous, highly active antiretroviral therapy, etc. Things like mushroom poisoning and ehepatotoxins that are present in the environment also create higher risk for the people who are already at the risk of fatty liver disease.
10. Other chemicals
Along with limited exposure or overdose of the above mentioned drugs, there are certain other chemicals that are presumed as the causes of fatty liver disease. Exposure to chemicals like pesticides and other regular toxins may cause this disease. It mostly depends on the amount of exposure and the toxicity of those chemicals. However, such chemicals are mainly responsible for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
11. Various diseases
Apart from all the causes of fatty liver disease the are mentioned above, there are a few health conditions, that are generally associated with fatty liver disease. Various ailments like HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C (genotype 3), inflammatory bowel syndrome, Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, hyperlipidaemia, which is characterized by high blood fat levels, hypertension, diabetes, insulin resistance, hypothyroidism, which is characterized by under-active thyroid gland, poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, etc. are also found to be associated with fatty liver disease. It means that people who are suffering from these diseases, need to check for any signs and symptoms of fatty liver disease.