London Medical Private GP Services
London Medical provides the most up-to-date procedures for patients – with clinics held by some of the UK’s most renowned specialists.
Fatty liver disease: detection and treatment
What is fatty liver disease?
Did you know your liver is the key organ that helps process cholesterol (fats) and some of its cells store fat droplets. However, when the liver sees too much fat, this ‘stresses’ the liver cells and immune cells passing through it and can give rise to fatty liver and subsequent liver damage. The liver at this stage begins to accumulate fat and a vicious cycle of fat accumulation and liver injury can follow.
It is a common condition, especially if you are obese, have insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, under-active thyroid or other hormonal conditions. In most cases it doesn’t cause serious problems, but in some people, it can lead to liver inflammation, and the development of scar tissue (‘fibrosis’) in the liver, which leads to liver damage.
To learn more about the two main types of fatty liver disease, please watch this video. It includes information about:
- Alcohol-induced fatty liver disease caused by heavy drinking
- Non-alcohol related fatty liver disease which occurs in people who are not heavy drinkers
Who gets fatty liver disease?
You have an increased chance of developing fatty liver disease if you have one, or more, of following:
- Overweight, particularly around your waist
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure or high cholesterol
- At least two cardiometabolic risk factors [is there another way we can say this that people will easily understand]
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Hypogonadism (a deficiency in the amount of sex hormone your body produces)
- Alcohol dependence- where alcohol-based calories precipitates liver fat accumulation
Why test for it?
The most important reason to detect fatty liver is because it is associated with a range of other health risks, including diabetes, coronary artery disease, heart attack, and increased all-cause mortality.
The condition is also silent so you often won’t know whether you have it and how advanced it might be.
However, the good news is that we now have the technology to assess for this condition, using a highly effective ultrasound-type of technology called Fibroscan.
And there are ways to now treat fatty liver disease with dietary and lifestyle changes, and newer medications that are becoming available.
What is FibroScan?
How to treat fatty liver
- Lose weight
- Avoid alcohol
- Optimise control of conditions such as diabetes melitus and high cholesterol
Why do I need a liver examination with FibroScan?
Liver health is critically important regardless of your medical needs. Chronic liver disease is silent and underdiagnosed. Damage to the liver caused by chronic liver diseases can often be reversed by early diagnosis and intervention.
You may be asked to have this test because you have a fatty liver which is associated with diabetes, obesity, triglyceride elevation or excess alcohol consumption.
How do I prepare for the test?
- Fasting for at least 3 hours prior (water allowed)
- Comfortable clothing that allows access to the right side of your rib cage.
What happens during the examination?
The examination is carried out by a trained operator (nurse, technician):
- you will lie on your back with your right arm above your head
- you will cross your right leg over your left hip to help open your rib spaces
- gel will be applied and the probe will be placed between your rib spaces
Does it hurt?
No. FibroScan is painless. You may feel a slight vibration from the probe.
We offer Fibroscans Monday to Friday by appointment. The scan takes around 30 minutes and the results will then be reviewed by a consultant hepatologist who will provide a report to you and your doctor. You can then discuss the results with your doctor to agree if any further action is needed.
The cost of the scan appointment and the detailed consultant report is £450.
London Medical is located in the Harley Street medical area. Together with top experts across a range of multi-disciplinary fields, we offer the finest facilities for your care, all under one roof.
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