The condition of extra fat accumulation in the liver known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is on the rise. When examining abnormal liver blood tests, an imaging test may potentially reveal a fatty liver. NAFLD and diseases like diabetes and obesity are closely connected. Additionally, it raises the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Faces of fatty liver disease –
Fatty liver disease is described by a variety of medical names, which might be perplexing. A fatty liver that is unrelated to alcohol usage is referred to as having NAFLD, the main medical umbrella term. NAFLD is further split into two categories:
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL), otherwise known as simple fatty liver, or
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
Why types of fatty liver disease matters –
It’s crucial to distinguish between NASH and a simple fatty liver. Why? Because those with NASH experience inflammation and damage to their liver cells, whereas those with simple fatty liver don’t typically experience liver-related illness. This raises the possibility of developing more severe illnesses such liver cancer, cirrhosis, or fibrosis (liver scarring). Within the next 12 months, NASH cirrhosis is anticipated to be the leading cause of liver transplantation. Fortunately, most NAFLD sufferers have a basic fatty liver rather than NASH.
Keeping your liver healthy
If you have fatty liver disease, it’s critical to maintain your liver’s health and stay away from anything that could harm it. Here are some crucial actions that you need to take.
- Avoid consuming too much alcohol. It’s debatable how much alcohol is too much, but it’s definitely preferable to abstain entirely.
- Verify your list of prescription drugs, over-the-counter remedies, and dietary supplements to be sure none of them are toxic to the liver. Even acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol and several cold medications, can be hazardous if used in excess or for an extended period of time, particularly if you have liver problems or consume a lot of alcohol.
- Get vaccinated to guard against the hepatitis A and B liver viruses.
- Control other medical disorders that could have an impact on your liver, and consult your doctor if you think you could have underlying, curable conditions that are causing your fatty liver.
- If you already have cirrhosis, get routine liver cancer screenings.
The good news is that lifestyle adjustments rather than drugs have proven to be the most successful approach to treating fatty liver disease thus far. The bad news is that these are frequently challenging for many people to attain and maintain. We know the following helps:
- Lose weight – It may be possible to reduce liver fat and improve abnormal liver tests with weight loss of about 5% of your body weight. Losing between 7% and 10% of body weight appears to lessen liver cell inflammation and damage, and it may even undo some of the harm caused by fibrosis. Aim for a weekly weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds, as rapid weight loss may exacerbate fibrosis and inflammation. If you aren’t losing weight and your health is deteriorating, you might wish to discuss weight loss surgery with your doctor.
- It appears that aerobic exercise also reduces liver fat, and when done vigorously, it may also reduce inflammation without causing weight loss.
- Eat sensibly. According to several research, the Mediterranean diet may also help reduce liver fat. This diet places a strong emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, butter replacement with olive or canola oil, red meat restriction, increased consumption of fish, and lean poultry.
- Perhaps drink coffee? According to several research, people with NAFLD who consumed coffee (about two cups per day) had a lower risk of developing fibrosis. Consider the drawbacks of routine caffeine consumption, though.
Give it your all, even if changing your way of life and losing weight can be challenging, because the benefits are enormous if you have fatty liver. And keep in mind that cardiovascular disease is still the biggest risk factor for persons with fatty livers. Some of these lifestyle modifications can not only reduce or eliminate fatty liver, but they will also support heart health.