Fatty liver disease: symptoms include spider nevi on the face, neck and arms

“Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a chronic disease caused by too much fat stored in liver cells, which is not due to alcohol,” said Dr. Deborah Lee of Dr Fox Online Pharmacy. One symptom that could indicate this diagnosis is spider nevi.

Dr Lee said: “It is important to note that the majority of people with NAFLD have no symptoms and are unaware they have it.”

The NHS explains that there are not many symptoms that appear in the early stages of fatty liver disease.

Many people only find out when they are tested for something else.

However, the condition can cause certain signs to appear as it progresses, including spider nevi.

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The expert shared that this sign, which describes dilated blood vessels, belongs to “common” symptoms of liver dysfunction.

As for the area where it can occur, the spots include the face, neck, trunk, and arms.

The National Library of Medicine shares this sign, also known as spider angioma, characterized by abnormal dilation of the terminal arteries just under the skin.

They explain: “The lesion contains a central red spot and reddish extensions that radiate outward like a spider’s web.


“They can appear as multiple or solitary lesions.

“A spider angioma has three characteristics: a body, legs, and surrounding erythema.

“The body appears as a 1-10mm central arteriole visible as a point or eminence.

“It is usually painless, resembles the body of a spider, and is surrounded by attenuated capillaries radiating like a spider’s leg, decreasing in size towards the margins.”

Fortunately, Dr. Lee explained that “much can be accomplished” through lifestyle modifications.

She recommended a list of specific foods that might help:

  • Garlic – This may help reduce BMI in people with NAFLD
  • Omega 3 fatty acids – found in oily fish, flaxseeds and walnuts. These are healthy unsaturated fats that can reduce the amount of fat in the liver and increase HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Coffee – Decaf coffee has been shown to reduce liver inflammation
  • Broccoli – Rich in antioxidants, it can help reduce fat storage in the liver
  • Soy or whey protein – Has been shown to reduce the amount of liver fat in a group of obese women with NAFLD.

Another helpful intervention is exercise. The expert added: “You should undertake 150-300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise (MIT).

“This is any exercise that raises your heart rate and causes you to sweat and get out of breath slightly, such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing.”

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