Fatty liver disease (FLD) means extra fat in your liver. You might hear your doctor call it hepatic steatosis. Most of the time, it doesn’t cause the symptoms. But changes in your face and skin such as puffiness, color changes, and itching suggest fatty liver disease. Fat buildup can slowly decrease the function of the liver, meaning it cannot perform its usual roles within the body.
Symptoms of fatty liver disease can affect your face
The liver filters toxins from your blood. Negative effects usually start taking place when the fat infiltration of your liver reaches 5–10% of the weight of your liver which is NAFLD. However, fatty liver disease is generally a symptomless disease unless there is a progression to liver failure. In some cases, acanthosis nigricans (dry and dark patches of skin that develop in the armpits or groin) or hirsutism (the development of thick, dark hair) can develop. However, this is often a symptom of an underlying disease, like metabolic syndrome.
With ALD and NAFLD, there are usually no symptoms. Some people may have signs such as tiredness or pain in the upper right side of the belly where the liver is. If you have NASH or get cirrhosis, you may have symptoms such as:
- Enlarged blood vessels underneath your skin
- Swollen belly
- Red palms
- Skin and eyes look yellow, due to a condition called jaundice
- Nausea, weight loss, or loss of appetite
- Tiredness or mental confusion
Multiple factors can contribute to the buildup of fat in your liver including:
- The use of medications
- Alcohol abuse
- High triglycerides
- Consuming too many calories
Treatment for facial symptoms related to fatty liver disease depends on your symptoms. For example, a doctor may prescribe medications like cholestyramine to reduce facial and skin itching. The best way to reduce symptoms is to try to reverse the effects of fatty liver disease. But this isn’t always possible. Even so, trying to at least stop the disease from progressing is important. There are no medical treatments to reverse fatty liver disease. But addressing the underlying causes can help you stop progression or even reverse the disease. For example, if you have obesity, weight loss through changing your diet or exercise routine can help slow the progression.