A fatty liver? What’s that?

(Medical terminology: Steatohepatitis or steatosis)

So………could you have a fatty liver?

No doubt, many of us are walking around with a fatty liver, but are completely unaware of the fact.

Just because we may not suffer from any pain or discomfort in the liver area, doesn’t mean to say that our livers may be struggling a little.

A poor diet, lack of exercise, as well as other factors, including consuming alcohol and taking medications, can lead to some nasty fatty infiltrations in the liver.

A fatty liver is mainly diagnosed on an ultrasound scan, where the liver may appear ‘bright’.

One of the main contributory factors in the development of fatty infiltrations, is having too many triglycerides in our diet, and that, along with a lack of regular exercise, can be quite disastrous for this vital organ.

For those people who appear to be slim and not carrying too much excess weight, we could refer to as TOFI (Thin Outside, Fat Inside), if indeed they do have a fatty liver, and possibly fat around the liver and other organs (visceral fat).

Subcutaneous fat is fat that is stored under our skin, whereas, visceral fat is found in the abdominal cavity.

The liver itself doesn’t have any nerve endings, but the sheath that surrounds it (Glisson’s capsule) is rich in nerve endings. Therefore, when the liver becomes inflamed, it will outstretch and irritate the sheath, which in turn, will send signals of pain and discomfort to the brain.

It is therefore, so very important to make sure that you are treating your liver with the respect that it deserves. It is working hard 24/7, and will only put up with so much abuse and assault.

Some people may have a familial predisposition for increased levels of both triglycerides and cholesterol, so, they will have to work harder at keeping these levels low.

If you feel that you could make improvements with your lifestyle, but need some support and motivation, please feel free to contact me, either through here at HealthUnlocked or at: sarah.tattersall@liver4life.org.uk, or from our website liver4life.org.uk

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2 Replies

  • Two weeks I was suffering from fever, cough, constipation. Doctor precribed antibiotics and medication for cough and constipation. After my fever, I suffered bloated stomach and discomfort. Doctor suggested a blood test which i did last week.

    1) I have a GGT level of 132. All other diagnosis under liver functions are normal.

    2)ESR level:- 30 mm/h

    3)Glucose:- 6.1

    Total colesterol:-5.6 mmol/L

    Tri:- 1.73

    HDL: 1.38

    LDL: 3.43

    Total colesterol/ HDL ratio: 4.1

    I am worried about the abnormal readings/ levels of ggt!

    Kindly advise

  • Dear curly-sue,

    Thank you so much for contacting us via HealthUnlocked and also via my email address.

    I was sorry to learn that you’ve been poorly, but pleased you’ve sought medical advice and undertaken some tests.

    Was the blood test taken AFTER you took the antibiotics, or beforehand?

    Also, could I ask you please to provide me with the reference range for the GGT……..

    If there is any elevation with the GGT level, the GP usually automatically enquires as to whether the patient consumes any alcohol, because the levels can sometimes correlate to alcohol consumption.

    However, saying that, there are many reasons as to why you may have an elevated GGT, e.g.


    2.Medications: including antidepressants and NSAIDs, lipid-lowering drugs, antibiotics, histamine blockers (used to treat excess stomach acid production), antifungal agents, anticonvulsants (seizure control medications), and hormones such as testosterone.

    It’s important to understand that the GGT enzymes are found in the bile ducts, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas and kidneys (also the prostate), and there is a correlation between high GGT enzyme levels and congestive heart failure. Also, the GGT levels can increase with age in women.

    Was the test on a fasting blood sample? It usually is requested on a fasting sample, because if the patient has had something to eat just prior to the blood sampling, the GGT level could be lowered.

    With regard to all of your other results that you’ve provided me with, it is my understanding that the Total cholesterol is elevated, Triglycerides are in the HEALTHY range, as is the HDL. LDL is borderline and the Total cholesterol/HDL ratio is normal.

    Was the glucose test on a fasting or non-fasting sample? Please look at this link for further information: diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-di...

    May I ask what the reference range for the ESR was? It is my understanding that the result of 30mm/hour is normal, and that it would have to reach up towards the 100mm/hour for it to be of significance. Please have a look at these links:



    You mentioned that all of your other results within the LFT were normal, but I would still like to know what your results were, including the reference ranges for each element. That would be helpful thankyou!

    The results that you’ve provided me with are not indicating a fatty liver, as your triglycerides are normal and the only elevation you have in your lipid profile is a slightly high cholesterol.

    It could be that you take some medications, and/or that you smoke/drink a little, which could influence the GGT. Even if some of these DON'T apply, I would suggest further investigation to establish the reason of the GGT elevation. It would be sensible to undertake an ultrasound scan in the first instance.

    If you could provide me with any more information (reference range for GGT, and also the results and reference ranges for the remaining elements within the LFT, plus whether you consume alcohol, smoke, your age, medications, other health problems), I would hopefully be able to elaborate on what I’ve mentioned already.

    I will look forward to hearing from you when you have a moment, but in the meantime, all good wishes to you, and kind regards,

    Sarah Tattersall

    Helpline Manager