Signs, some of which appear on the skin, indicate an advanced stage of fatty liver disease.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a group of conditions caused by the accumulation of fat in the liver that can cause serious complications if their symptoms are not treated early.
Unfortunately, the lack of symptoms means that many people will develop liver damage in the long run. Sometimes broken capillaries on the surface of the skin are a sign that liver disease has worsened.
According to Liver Health UK, the “stage four” non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is cirrhosis and can take up to seven years to develop after a diagnosis of cirrhosis is made.
NHS Inform adds: “There are usually few symptoms in the early stages of cirrhosis. Noticeable problems tend to develop as liver damage increases.”
This is because in the early stages of cirrhosis, the liver is able to function normally even if it is damaged.
In fact, many people with cirrhosis don’t have any symptoms and look healthy for years, with about a third of them showing no symptoms at all.
As liver function gradually deteriorates, yellow bumps, small red lines, or a rash may appear on the skin.
Small red lines on the skin, usually above waist level, are common symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) stage 4.
Capillaries form when the accumulation of fat in the liver causes blood flow to slow down or blood clots to form, affecting blood pressure.
Sometimes people get a red or purple rash in the form of “small dots or larger spots” caused by bleeding from these tiny blood vessels, according to MSD guidelines.
And the health authority goes on to say: “If liver function is inactive for a long time, people may feel itchy all over, and small yellow bumps of fat may be deposited on the skin or eyelids.”
The person may also notice changes in their personality, sleep problems such as insomnia, memory loss, confusion, and difficulty concentrating.
The medical term for this is encephalopathy, NHS Inform explains, and it happens when the body starts taking in toxins that the body cannot remove.
Liver Health UK reports: “At this stage, the liver stops working properly and symptoms such as yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes and dull pain in the lower ribs begin to appear. The scar tissue in cirrhosis is difficult to remove, although further progression can be stopped if the cause of the lesion is removed liver.
In fact, although there is no cure for cirrhosis, it is possible to control symptoms and complications or slow its progression.
Fortunately, most people with NAFLD have only an early stage of the disease (fatty liver or just steatosis), and some develop more severe stages.