If you don't consume alcohol or drink very little of it, you might not expect to have any issues with your liver. But if you do notice yellowing in your skin and eyes, swelling and pain in your right abdomen, or another liver disease-related symptom, consult a doctor soon. You may have a liver condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Learn more about nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and how to test for it below.

What Should You Know About Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?

Although alcohol and viral infections are some of the biggest causes of liver disease, the disease can also occur in people who consume little to no alcoholic beverages in their lifetime. This type of liver disease is known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Your liver contains a certain amount of fat content to keep it functional inside your body. A healthy liver removes all sorts of toxins from your body throughout your lifetime. Your liver also produces a substance called bile, which is very important to your digestive system. However, if your liver becomes too fatty, it won't be able to carry out its important functions. The extra fat can build up inside your liver and cause it to fail. 

Although it isn't exactly clear as to why some non-alcoholics develop liver disease and other non-drinkers don't, some risk factors may be reasons for it. These risk factors include:

  • being insulin resistant
  • being pregnant 
  • having diabetes
  • taking medications for cancer or another disease

The symptoms of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can vary from adult to adult. Some people may experience jaundice (yellowing skin and eyes), abdominal pain, and nausea, while other adults may not experience any symptoms at all. If you have symptoms or suspect that you have liver disease, seek medical testing soon.

How Do You Know If You Have Liver Problems?

A physician or medical doctor can test your liver to see if it contains more fat than necessary. The testing methods used by a physician may include liver function panel testing, liver-enzyme testing, and regular blood testing. If your liver enzyme count is high or if your liver doesn't function as it normally should, a doctor may run additional tests on you to confirm the liver disease.

If you do have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a medical practice will provide care. Your care may include taking medications to lower your liver fat content, or you may require medications that lower your weight, blood sugar, or another reason. You may also need to make various visits to a physician's office to maintain your health. A doctor will inform you about your treatment during your appointments.

For more information on how to detect or test for liver disease in non-alcoholics, contact a medical practice office today.