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Blood work showed fatty liver. Suggested liver ultrasound. What does this mean?

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Practicing since : 2008
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I had blood work done recently, and the doctors nurse just called with results. I was told I have a fatty liver and they might want to do a liver ultrasound. What does that mean and what does the ultrasound look for?
Posted Thu, 18 Jul 2013 in Liver and Gall Bladder
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 1 hour later

Thank you for the query.

It is impossible to diagnose fatty liver with just a blood work. It may be suspected due to elevated liver tests (AST and ALT). To diagnose fatty liver, ultrasound needs to be done and in case of any doubts even liver biopsy.
In the ultrasound there is possible to evaluate liver structure. If there is a fatty tissue in the liver, fatty liver can be diagnosed.

Fatty liver is a reversible condition where liver cells collect fat. This condition can be caused by bad diet (fatty foods, spicy foods, fried foods), alcohol abuse and some medicines. When fatty liver appears, it can be healed when diet is changed or alcohol stopped or it can turn into liver cirrhosis (which is irreversible). Liver cirrhosis leads to liver failure.

I suggest you to improve your diet, avoid fatty foods, spicy foods, fried foods and alcohol. Ultrasound is a good idea.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Blood work showed fatty liver. Suggested liver ultrasound. What does this mean? 10 minutes later
I did have blood work done by an endoctinologist. I don't think I asked my question correctly. I was told my liver something was up and they asked had I ever been told I have a fatty liver. I have not, but my ALT was 43 in blood work done in April, with range of 0-35 being normal.

My endo did that blood work again this past Friday. I do not drink alcohol, ever. I do take antiinflammatories daily. My diet is not the best.

Is 43 a XXXXXXX number for ALT?
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 10 minutes later
ALT 43 level is only slightly elevated. There is no danger in that. With serious liver disease ALT level reaches hundreds or thousands.
How could they diagnose fatty liver not doing an ultrasound? Like I have said before, its impossible without this test.
ALT can get elevated due to heavy drinking the night before, due to spicy meal day before or due to antiinflammatories day before. It can get elevated only for a while as the liver had a hard work and does not have to be caused by fatty liver.

Antiinflammatories do harm the liver, especially when taken regularly. As well as the diet.

Please note that liver cells regeneration takes form a month to 3 months. So if you will improve your diet, next liver tests should be done after a month.

Hope this will help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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