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03/24/2010 12:20 AM

Fatty liver, high triglycerides and gall bladder

Tracy68
Posts: 11
New Member

Hi there.

I am female, 42 years of age and have been diagnosed as having a very (moderate to extreme) fatty liver, extremely elevated triglycerides (cholesterol is normal and I have no signs of diabetes) and my doctor seems to think that the chronic pain I am experiencing in my abdomen (right side where the liver is) and in my back behind my shoulder blade is "probably" caused by sludge in my gall bladder as the ultrasound showed no evidence of gall stones.

He has advised that I go on a low fat, low carb, low sugar diet.

What this entails I really don't know (he didn't give me any sort of diet plan....just told me to eat lots of oats and plenty of fresh vegetables!) as I have read and read online and heard so many conflicting things.

I was not what you would call overweight to begin with, just had a few extra pounds beginning to accumulate, but now I am losing weight quite quickly and I'm feeling absolutely AWFUL and the pain is still not going away regardless of what I eat!

I'm really at my wits end with this.

He told me to be on this "use your imagination diet" for three months and then go back to have my triglyceride levels tested again and if there is no change then I will have to go on medication.

The doctor told me I have familial hypertriglyceremia (sp?) and yet there is no evidence that anyone has had this in my family.

I used to drink a couple of glasses of wine every night.....One or two but never more than three normally even when socialising.

Of course I have completely cut that out now but despite him saying he didn't think the alcohol had caused all of this I really have to wonder since each individual metabolises alcohol differently?

I just can't see it as some genetic thing because there seems to not be any evidence of that.

I've never had any other significant medical problem and suddenly all of this crops up!

I've been on a low fat diet since January....progressively I've been eating less and less of anything as food seems to bring on the pain.

Haven't had any alcohol for nearly a month and before that I kept cutting it out to eliminate it as a possible cause of the pain prior to seeing the doctor and getting the fatty liver diagnosis.

I don't really know what my question is. (Will this end!?)

I'm just a mess really.

I have three children and I am always SO tired or in pain that I just can't function normally.

I'm going to see another doctor next week to see if she can make some sense of this and put me on the right track.

Tracy

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03/24/2010 07:00 AM
newzie52
Posts: 5
New Member

Hi!

I'll chime in here, as several things in your post struck me.

High triglycerides and fatty liver go hand in hand. If yours is as fatty as you've been told, the liver is likely enlarged; that may well be one source of your discomfort.

One odd fact about fatty liver and weight loss is that losing weight TOO quickly can aggravate the problem. Weight loss of 1-2 lbs/week is healthy.

Concentrate on leaner cuts of meat, lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, plenty of water, healthy fats (peanut oil, canola oil, olive oil) and cut out sugary foods. Basically, your all-around healthy diet with fresh, less-processed foods.

It sounds as if you're smart setting up an appointment with another doctor (is it a gastroenterologist or hepatologist?)

Good luck.


03/24/2010 04:52 PM
Tracy68
Posts: 11
New Member

Hi and thanks.

Yes, from my reading I've realised that the high triglycerides and the fatty liver go hand in hand.

My liver WAS also enlarged on the ultrasound.

I'm just so frustrated with this pain and beginning to imagine all sorts of sinister scenario's....

My abdomen is not as tender as it was and the bloating, burping, indigestion "seems" to have settled somewhat but it seems that after eating solid foods AND upon normal daily activities that the pain , especially in my back, gets worse.

The doctor said it "could be" sludge in the gallbladder but doing more reading it seems that this would likely show up, and it seems that my gallbladder looked pretty normal?

Can a fatty, enlarged liver cause the same pain symptoms as gallbladder sludge or gallstones is what I'm wondering?

Am I perhaps tensing the muscles in my back and this is causing pain?

I am pretty much just following a sensible diet as you suggested.

I've never been one for loads of fatty or "unhealthy" foods anyway.

I'm just seeing another general practioner at the moment. Perhaps she will refer me onto someone else if she doen't have any answers.

Tracy


03/24/2010 07:33 PM
mpmom
mpmom  
Posts: 3275
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Tracy,

Welcome to the group.

First the pain you describe is common with a enlarged liver. The liver itself has no pain fibers But the lining around the liver is full of them.The pain I feel is different than when I had gallbladder trouble.The pain I have is a constant boring pain just below my right ribs. With my gallbladder it was a intense almost gnawing pain that eventually moved to my upper right back

As newzie stated loosing weight too fast is hard on the liver and can cause more problems , so take it slow.

The alcohol use may have accelerated the process that led to you Fatty liver. You are right in the fact that it affects every one differently.For some the amount of alcohol you describe would be enough.

People live a long normal life with Fatty Liver, But a few develop what is called NASH which can progress to Cirrhosis. I already had Cirrhosis by the time they found the fatty liver.

As newzie stated you need to be referred at least to a gastroenterologist.

below is the link to my site for general information on cirrhosis

and a link to the NASH site.

Again welcome to the group and if I can be of any help please let me know.

http://livingwithcirrhosis.weebly.com/

http://www.liver-nash.com/

Gail


03/25/2010 04:22 AM
Tracy68
Posts: 11
New Member

Hi and thank you for the welcome and those links.

I do feel that there has been "some" improvement in that my belly is nowhere near as tender as it was a few weeks ago. Back then it felt like I could have ripped my own liver out!

The pain I'm getting now seems to be mainly under my right shoulder blade and is more like a deep ache.

Not enough to take your breath away but enough to feel like just crawling into bed and feeling sorry for yourself!

I'm so exhausted too. I can just sleep and sleep, through the day and then can't at night.

I thought that I was possibly low on iron but it seems I'm not.

Surprisingly too my liver function tests were pretty good. I would have thought that having such a fatty liver and an enlarged one would have made those tests results pretty abnormal.

Anyway, I'm hoping this new doctor will have some new insights, and just give me some hope that this IS going to subside so I can feel normal again.

Tracy


03/25/2010 12:56 PM
mpmom
mpmom  
Posts: 3275
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Tracy,

The test that will show the changes with your actual liver function are Bilirubin,Albumin, Platelets and INR. The creatinine level is also important as liver damage can cause kidney damage.

The AST/ALT are enzymes and can be elevated from many causes.

Most cirrhosis patients are much sicker than their labs show.It 's not uncommon for people to live for years never knowing that they have liver disease because it takes so long for lab work to change. I lost a Aunt to lung cancer last year while she was sick they found out that she had cirrhosis caused by Fatty Liver. She never knew and died from cancer at 87.

Liver Disease is often a silent disease until it is far advanced.

I have had Cirrhosis for 3 years and my labs remain relatively good.Sometime they get worse for a while and then they improve again.

The fatigue is common and can be overwhelming.

The pain you describe does sound more like Gallbladder pain.

Good luck with the new Dr. and keep us informed.I also always suggest that patients keep copies of all test results they will become more important than you know.

Gail


03/31/2010 01:26 AM
Tracy68
Posts: 11
New Member

Well, I went to see the new doctor today.

She wants me to have another blood test, this time to test for my pancreas function?

They weren't included in the first lot of tests.

What's got her a bit concerned I guess is that I told her that for some time now (excuse the graphic - ness)my stools have been very yellow.

This all started about three years ago and I "thought" I had irritable bowel syndrome.

Anyway, she seemed to think that this (and the pain) could be pancreas related.

I've read though that if you have gallbladder problems it can also cause yellow stools.

I don't know what to think! Now I'm paranoid that I might have pancreatic cancer or something!

Shouldn't think that though...it's more common in much older people she said!

The next step after that is going to be a CT scan I think, and she will refer me to a gastroenterologist.

She also wants to retest the triglycerides to see where we are at with those.

I WAS recovering from the flu at the time so theres a slim chance that the test wasn't exactly accurate.

In the meantime I'm still stuck with this nagging boring pain in my back that is driving me insane!

Tracy


03/31/2010 04:04 PM
mpmom
mpmom  
Posts: 3275
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Tracy,

You are correct in thinking that gallbladder disease can also cause yellow stools.

The pancreas can cause lots of problems other than cancer and is affected by some meds and alcohol. When I first got sick I was sure I had pancreatic cancer. Cirrhosis was almost a relief (for a few days)

It's amazing how much we'll put up with for so long.

Gail


03/31/2010 05:49 PM
Tracy68
Posts: 11
New Member

Thanks Gail.

I must say too, I'm so sorry that you have the medical problems that you have, which I gather are completely not alcohol related.

I'm feeling pretty guilty here whining when it COULD end up, even though I wasn't a rolling drunk excessive drinker, that perhaps what's happening to me is through my own fault.

I guess I won't know though until everything has been tested and explored.

The waiting is the worst.

I can't see the doctor again now for another ten days or so because she's fully booked up so even though I'll have gone for these next blood tests next week......well, it feels like it's taking forever to get some sort of diagnosis.

I'm going to stop looking on the internet at all the symptoms because it's driving me insane!

Tracy


03/31/2010 11:32 PM
mpmom
mpmom  
Posts: 3275
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Tracy,

First you're not whining.It doesn't matter the cause. no one deserves this.

My problems are not alcohol related Diabetes , medication and a surgical mistake caused my problems . But it doesn't matter.

Something you may not be aware of is that when they do a biopsy, They can not distinguish the difference between Fatty liver cause by alcohol and Non alcohol causes.The only difference is that when it is caused by alcohol and alcohol is removed from the scene most people improve, It can take a long time But I know several people that improved enough to come off transplant list.

I know the waiting is horrible , I remember.Never feel bad about venting.

Hang in there , I'm pulling for you.

Gail

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