Fatty Liver – A Reversible & Common Problem

By Dr Karen Coates

Fatty Liver is a condition usually diagnosed after blood test 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 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 those 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 thought to cause the problem, having a fatty liver increases the risk of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer in a small number of sufferers.

Although sensible alcohol intake is an important part of treating the 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 Practice regularly sees improvement in Liver Function Tests, often back to normal range. This involves a Holistic approach to the problem, involving lifestyle changes and herbal support for the liver.