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Fatty Liver

When doctors can't find a cause for abnormal liver tests, they often diagnose fatty liver, which if not treated, can cause permanent liver damage, but it can be cured with dietary changes and weight loss.

If your liver tests are abnormal, your doctor will ask you if you drank alcohol recently or take drugs. If your liver test do not return to normal after you avoid alcohol and drugs, you need blood tests for infections of the liver and a sonogram to rule out gall bladder disease or a tumor. If the sonogram shows a fatty liver, the odds are overwhelming that your body makes too much insulin.

This condition affects three percent of young children and a higher percentage of adults. Untreated, it causes permanent liver damage, so fatty liver should be treated with diet, weight reduction and sometimes medications to reduce body fat and appetite. I recommend a diet that restricts refined carbohydrates and high-fat foods (see report #8614 for the diet I recommend) and a drug called metformin (Glucophage). If you still have abnormal liver tests, you need a comprehensive evaluation to find the cause.
More on fatty liver

1)H Knobler, A Schattner, T Zhornicki, SDH Malnick, D Keter, N Sokolovskaya, Y Lurie, DD Bass. Fatty liver - an additional and treatable feature of the insulin resistance syndrome. Qjm - Monthly Journal of the Association of Physicians, 1999, Vol 92, Iss 2, pp 73-79.fatty liver was strongly associated with many features of the insulin resistance syndrome, and follow-up revealed a high potential for reversibility and a benign course..

2) Lancet. October 14, 1995. 3) HG Rich. Resolution of focal fatty infiltration of the liver. Southern Medical Journal 89: 10 (OCT 1996):1024-1027. 4) K Tominaga, JH Kurata, YK Chen, E Fujimoto, S Miyagawa, I Abe, Y Kusano. Prevalence of fatty liver in Japanese children and relationship to obesity: An epidemiological ultrasonographic survey. Digestive Diseases and Sciences 40: 9 (SEP 1995):2002-2009.

Checked 1/19/14

January 1st, 2015
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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