Fatty liver symptoms often go unnoticed by both liver patients and doctors. There are several reasons for this.
First, since the liver is an internal organ, you won’t be able to see any inflammation or scarring that may be occurring with the naked eye. As fat accumulates in the liver, it takes over the spaces normally used by healthy liver cells (hepatocytes) and the liver becomes larger and heavier. However, in most circumstances, you won’t notice any symptoms as fatty infiltration causes your liver to slowly enlarge over time. Fatty liver disease and its corresponding stages can take years or even decades to fully develop.
Second, fatty liver disease symptoms can be difficult to detect because the liver lacks the sensitive pain receptors found in other areas of the body. Therefore, you may not experience liver damage as pain. When pain does occur it usually results from the stretching of the peritoneum (a membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity and covers most of the intra-abdominal organs including the liver) or from an enlarged liver that puts pressure on other internal organs and other areas of the body.
Third, non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) progresses through several different stages: fatty liver (simple steatosis), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), liver cirrhosis (permanent scarring, fibrosis, and liver hardening), and eventually complete liver failure. You’ll experience few, if any, signs of liver damage when fat first starts to accumulate in the liver during the first stage (fatty liver). Read the rest of this entry