Non Alcoholic Fatty liver (NAFLD) is a bit of a sneaky health issue. Many people who have it don’t know they have it because it often doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms. That is… until it gets really bad!
If people do get diagnosed for NAFLD it’s usually because of symptoms like yellow skin and eyes, a swollen belly, loss of apetite or Enlarged blood vessels under the skin. However, there are some other tell-tale sings that may be caused by excess fat in the liver. In this article you’ll learn about three weird symptoms of a fatty liver.
What your liver does
First, let’s talk about the function of the liver and what it does. Actually, your liver is responsible for hundreds of different functions and processes in your body. That’s a lot of different functions! However, these are the main ones:
It helps you make bile
what’s bile bile is like the detergent that helps break down fat so your body can pull out the necessary fat soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids out of that fat.
If you have liver problems and you can’t make enough bile, you’re going to have not just undigested fat but also a lack of fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids… possibly leading to a whole cascade of issues.
It helps you make proteins
You liver helps make a lot of different types of protein. Such as lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol (HDL and LDL) and also protein in your blood.
It makes cholesterol
Your liver also makes makes quite a bit of cholesterol, about a thousand milligrams every single day.
Glucose and glycogen
The liver can also make glucose, also known as gluconeogenesis. It can make it from fat or protein. Besides that the liver also makes glycogen and helps store it in your body. What’s glycogen? It’s the stored form of glucose and one of your body’s primary fuel sources.
It detoxifies your body
Your liver can turn ammonia to urea, which is a less toxic substance. Ammonia is a byproduct of protein metabolism. The liver also helps you detoxify certain chemicals, poisons and drugs. It does this using certain enzymes called phase 1 phase 2 detoxification which turns these fat soluble toxic poisons into water-soluble harmless particles so the body can get rid of them.
It keeps hormones in check
Your liver also helps you buffer excessive hormones. If there’s too much estrogen for example it can help regulate that. It can also help degrade cortisol so you don’t have an excess.
In other words, your liver really does a lot very important things in your body. When it can’t perform these functions properly anymore due to excess fat it can cause a lot of health problems down the line.
3 Weird symptoms of fatty liver
So, what are these three weird symptoms of a fatty liver? When you have a fatty liver you lose the capacity of the liver to function. However, because it performs such a wide variety of functions it’s often hard to diagnose. As mentioned in this article about 30-40 percent of all adults and about 10% of all children in the US and Europe have excess fat in their liver.
So here are three things to look out for that may indicate excess fat in the liver:
You wouldn’t think heart pains associated with the liver. But, when you actually have fat in the liver it starts to enlarge to a certain degree. This can cause it to compress over to the heart. Especially if you’re laying on your left side because the liver is on the right side and the hearts on the left. So, if you have this problem, sleep on your right side.
If you get heart symptoms but the heart is fine, have them check the liver.
If you’re a man then fatty liver may also cause gynecomastia, also known as man boobs. This is because you can’t filter out excessive amounts of estrogen (remember your liver plays an important role in keeping your hormones in check). gynecomastia is caused by too much estrogen in a male body.
Another symptom of too much estrogen would be spider veins.
The third weird symptom that can potentially be caused by fatty liver is night blindness. Night blindness is a vitamin A deficiency. As mentioned earlier, if your liver isn’t producing enough bile you aren’t able to break down fats properly. This means you can’t absorb vitamin A.
Vitamin A is not just involved in night blindness. It also plays an important role for vision in general. So if you find yourself suffering from increasingly poor vision it may be coming from a liver problem!
Other fatty liver symptoms
With over five hundred different functions to perform, you can imagine that a poorly functioning liver can lead to a host of different health issues. Here are some other symptoms of a fatty liver:
If you don’t have enough bile you can’t break down the cholesterol. So it’s really the bile production that is necessary to regulate cholesterol!
Remember that an under-active liver can’t break down fat as effectively. So, if you have excess belly fat there’s a good chance you have fatty liver as well. Also, being overweight is one of the greatest risk factors when it comes to getting non alcoholic fatty liver in the first place.
If the liver loses its capacity to help you with blood sugars diabetes can be one of the results.
Fatigue is a very common symptom of a fatty liver.
Right shoulder pain
Not just right on the right shoulder, but in the right side of the neck and the jaw and upper back as well.
Redness in palms and feet
Fatty liver can cause redness in bottom of the feet and the palms of your hands.
Confusion, irritability and bad breath
Fatty liver can also cause confusion and irritability. If your liver doesn’t function properly it can lead to a build up of toxins in your bloodstream. This can lead to you feeling confused and irritable, as well as give you foul-smelling breath.
Remember, the most common cause of a fatty liver is high levels of insulin because of the over consumption of carbohydrates. This means that to prevent or even reverse it changing you diet should be your top priority.
Check out 11 Eating Habits to Reverse Fatty Liver for some tips on eating for better liver health (and better health in general).
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