Fatty liver diseas is a condition caused by abnormal lipid retention within the cells of the body. It is a reversible process that occurs as a result of accumulation of large vacuoles fat in the organ. Mainly it is as a result of excessive alcohol intake and obesity. Morphologically, it is difficult to distinguish between the alcoholic and the non-alcoholic types of the condition.
Fat accumulation in the liver can as well be caused by continuous inflammation or steatohepatitis. Being majorly caused by alcoholism, the disease is usually categorized according to a persons level of alcohol intake. Thus it is termed as either alcoholic or non-alcoholic liver disease. Similarly, the severe situations are also termed as alcoholic steatohepatitis and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.
A part from alcohol, there are also other causal factors, including dislipidemia, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. The disease attacks the cells of the organ in several stages that follows specific steps. The initial stages involve intracytoplasmatic accumulation of triglycerides, increasing the deposition of fat in the organ. In addition, the hepatocytes deposit small fat vacuoles around the nucleus of the cell.
Similarly, the early stages of attack are also characterized by filling of the organ cells by many fat droplets that do not displace the cell nucleus. However, the vacuoles expand to displace the nucleus to the periphery of the cell wall and form signet rings, in the later phases. The formation of rings dissolves tissue processing and makes the vesicles appear delineated and empty. Thereafter, the large vacuoles coalesce and form irreversible lesions of fatty cysts.
Usually, macro vesicular steatosis is believed to be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, corticosteroids, diabetes, and obesity. Moreover, it can give rise to severe conditions that affect the cells and may even lead to severe conditions such as Reyes syndrome and acute fatty liver of pregnancy. Generally, it is still a daunting task to know the severity of cell damage at the early stages of the organ attack.
Diagnosis of the disease can only be carried out when the level of accumulated fat reaches 5-10% in weight. Fatty acid metabolism is always responsible for the pathogenesis of the condition. Mainly, the metabolism is caused by two major factors, resistance of peripheral insulin, which increases fatty acids transportation rate to the organ, and imbalance from consumption of energy or its combustion.
Accumulation of fat is also caused by impairment and inhibition of receptor molecules that direct synthesis and oxidation enzymes of fatty acids. In addition, alcohol intake damages the mitochondria as well as other cellular structures, impairing the entire energy metabolism. The non-alcoholic type however develops due to excess energy in the cells.
Generally, many people believe that fatty liver diseas can be cured through eliminating the causal factors since it develops through a reversible process. Its severe conditions are usually characterized by persistent inflammation of the organ cells. However, the progression to alcoholic steatohepatitis or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, which are advanced stages, relies on the persistence of the causal factors or failure to fight them at the early stages of attack.