People who are obese or overweight often have excessive amounts of fat in their liver. This condition is known as fatty liver and is characterized by the accumulation of fat globules within the cells of the liver. A person may not be aware that he or she has fatty liver disease, and it can remain undiagnosed for many years.
Fatty liver is a common cause of chronic hepatitis and elevated liver enzymes, so even if you do not feel any pain, discomfort, or weakness you should still see your doctor to check for this condition. If left untreated, fatty liver can progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) over time.
People who are diagnosed with NASH will experience symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), itchy skin, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and swelling.
If you are overweight or obese and experiencing any of the following warning signs of fatty liver disease it is important that you see your doctor right away so they can take action to try to improve your liver function.
1. Dark yellow coloration in areas where there shouldn’t be one
Fatty liver disease often causes discoloration that makes the skin appear darker than its normal tone in specific spots on the body including underneath the fingernails or toenails, around the eyes or inside of the mouth. This symptom alone does not indicate fatty liver disease but should serve as a warning sign of potential liver problems.
2. Difficulty concentrating and reduced cognitive function
Fatty liver disease is linked to the development of mental confusion or “brain fog.” If you have difficulty thinking clearly, focusing on tasks or retaining new information it could be a sign that your body is experiencing fatty liver disease.
3. Weight loss with no known cause
Many people who are diagnosed with fatty liver will lose weight even though they have not made an effort to do so on purpose. This symptom can often lead a person with fatty liver disease to think they have been misdiagnosed because there was no weight loss plan involved but this symptom of fatty liver is more common than most would suspect. If you are overweight and experiencing sudden unexplained weight loss, make sure to keep this warning sign of fatty liver in mind.
4. Nausea or vomiting
Abdominal pain is the most common symptom associated with fatty liver disease but nausea or vomiting can become present if there is damage to the liver cells which prevents bile from flowing through the organ correctly.
5. Itchy skin
The buildup of fat in your liver will often prevent it from working properly and one side effect that you may experience if this occurs is itching all over your body. The itching sensation will happen regardless of what you are doing at the time so it will not go away on its own until you see a doctor for professional treatment for your fatty liver.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above it is important to see your doctor right away so they can determine the cause of your illness. Fatty liver disease has many known causes, including obesity and diabetes, but there are also cases where no particular cause is determined despite thorough medical testing.