Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease is caused by excess fat in the liver. It is perfectly normal to have a certain amount of fat in your liver, but if it makes up more than 10 % of the liver's weight, then you may be diagnosed with Fatty Liver Disease. It may not cause any symptoms, but could lead to problems at a later stage. At The Surgeons Collective here in Perth, we offer treatment for both Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), the two types of Fatty Liver Disease.
Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
You can get this type of condition from drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over a longer period of time. As you drink lots of alcohol, fats can start to build up in the liver. Some patients don't experience any symptoms, but if your liver becomes enlarged, you can feel pain or discomfort in the upper right area of your belly. In this case, as the patient stops using alcohol, the symptoms can disappear. Yet, if you keep using the same amounts of alcohol, you may develop cirrhosis, and this then becomes irreversible in an advanced stage.
In case you are a heavy drinker with concerns about the risks of Fatty Liver Disease, speak to your GP and discuss a referral to one of the specialists here at The Surgeons Collective. Our excellent liver physicians and dietitians can help you control your drinking habits. It always starts with understanding your needs, and with attentive and trusted communication between you and your doctor.
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients is commonly linked to obesity. What does it mean to diagnose someone as obese?
The widely accepted measure to define and diagnose "obesity" is your BMI or Body Mass Index. Your BMI is calculated based on your height and weight. You can calculate your BMI here:
If there are concerns about a risk of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, your GP will refer you to a specialist clinic like The Surgeons Collective WA.
Our role is to organise further examination and assessment, so our team of Perth based specialist doctors and dietitians can diagnose NAFLD, which would allow them to plan non-surgical treatment for you.
At The Surgeons Collective in Perth, we also offer obesity surgery or bariatric surgery (also simply called weight loss surgery) in case you have been diagnosed as being overweight. In some cases, it is the recommended and preferred treatment option for a condition like advanced Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.
Good and bad fats
You may have read confusing information about good fats and bat fats. This is how to remember it: Unsaturated fat is seen as good fat, and keeps your arteries clear. The healthy fats help your body transport fat and cholesterol around, and they help maintain a healthy heart function. The unsaturated fats also help reduce the bad cholesterol, which is often seen as a cause of heart problems.
When we talk about saturated fats and trans fat, we are discussing bad fats. They make your body produce more bad cholesterol, and they can also reduce the amounts of good cholesterol. Bad fats put you at risk of heart disease at a later stage in life, and this is why a dietitian will recommend you to avoid them. Particularly after a diagnosis for Fatty Liver Disease. Our team of dietitians here at The Surgeons Collective in Perth recommends and prescribes a personalised and very specific diet so you can manage and improve the effects of Fatty Liver Disease.
Can fatty liver disease be reversed?
The short answer is yes. Fatty Liver Disease is a reversible liver condition. In most situations, losing weight will help to reverse Fatty Liver Disease. But if the condition has advanced, and if fibrosis or cirrhosis have developed, then your condition is no longer reversible. It's crucial to have qualified dietitians by your side during a well structured program, because your weight loss needs to be planned and targeted during a specific timeframe.
Our team of qualified dietitians at The Surgeons Collective work closely together with the hepatologists and the liver specialists at our practice. This team work is essential to help you with a fully customised diet plan.
With NAFLD or Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, the first step is often about supporting you to make some lifestyle changes, to start losing weight. Before and during your treatment, our team is here to help. We know that making those changes requires support and that's exactly what we offer. Our dietitians will follow up on the progress you are making, gently implementing those changes so you can start seeing improvements in the condition of your liver. Even losing 5% of your weight can make a difference.
Typical diet recommendations for Fatty Liver Disease may include:
- Reducing your consumption of saturated and trans fats
- Buying more whole grain bread varieties instead of plain white
- Introducing more veggies and fruits in your diet
- Limit your intake of sugar
If you have Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, your dietitian will advise you to stop using alcohol. This is important because in early stages, it may be possible to reverse your condition. Again, and very similar to a diet for NAFLD, our dietitians will support you with a customised diet plan.
Of course dietary support is only one aspect of our efforts to help you on that journey. As you go through a treatment journey, our role is to provide genuine care and comfort, and excellence in the treatments that we offer. If you have a question about treatments for fatty liver disease, please contact The Surgeons Collective in Perth to make an appointment: 08 6163 2800.