FATTY LIVER DISEASE
Fatty liver disease means you have extra fat in your liver. You might hear your doctor call it hepatic steatosis. This could be come from excessive alcohol consumption or even non alcohol involving. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is an umbrella term for a range of liver conditions affecting people who drink little to no alcohol. As the name implies, the main characteristic of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is too much fat stored in liver cells. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a potentially serious form of the disease, is marked by liver inflammation, which may progress to scarring and irreversible damage. This damage is similar to the damage caused by heavy alcohol use. At its most severe, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis can progress to cirrhosis and liver failure.
There are several signs and symptoms of fatty liver, although not all of these may be present.
- Fatigue and weakness
- Slight pain or fullness in the right or center abdominal area
- Elevated levels of liver enzymes, including AST and ALT
- Elevated insulin levels
- Elevated triglyceride levels
If fatty liver progresses to NASH, the following symptoms may develop:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Moderate to severe abdominal pain
- Yellowing of eyes and skin
It's important to see your doctor regularly for standard exams and blood tests that can diagnose fatty liver at the early, reversible stage.
A wide range of diseases and conditions can increase your risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, including:
- High cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides in the blood
- Metabolic syndrome
- Obesity, particularly when fat is concentrated in the abdomen
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Underactive pituitary gland (hypopituitarism)
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is more likely in these groups:
- Older people
- People with diabetes
- People with body fat concentrated in the abdomen
To reduce your risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease:
- Choose a healthy diet. Choose a healthy plant-based diet that's rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, reduce the number of calories you eat each day and get more exercise. If you have a healthy weight, work to maintain it by choosing a healthy diet and exercising.
- Exercise. Exercise most days of the week. Get an OK from your doctor first if you haven't been exercising regularly.
- The first line of treatment is usually weight loss through a combination of a healthy diet and exercise. Losing weight addresses the conditions that contribute to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Ideally, a loss of 10 percent of body weight is desirable, but improvement in risk factors can become apparent if you lose even three to five percent of your starting weight. Weight-loss surgery is also an option for those who need to lose a great deal of weight.
- Your doctor may recommend that you receive vaccinations against hepatitis A and hepatitis B to help protect you from viruses that may cause further liver damage.
Lifestyle and home remedies
- Lose weight. If you're overweight or obese, reduce the number of calories you eat each day and increase your physical activity in order to lose weight. Calorie reduction is the key to losing weight and managing this disease. If you have tried to lose weight in the past and have been unsuccessful, ask your doctor for help.
- Choose a healthy diet. Eat a healthy diet that's rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and keep track of all calories you take in.
- Exercise and be more active. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. If you're trying to lose weight, you might find that more exercise is helpful. But if you don't already exercise regularly, get your doctor's OK first and start slowly.
- Control your diabetes. Follow your doctor's instructions to stay in control of your diabetes. Take your medications as directed and closely monitor your blood sugar.
- Lower your cholesterol. A healthy plant-based diet, exercise and medications can help keep your cholesterol and your triglycerides at healthy levels.
- Protect your liver. Avoid things that will put extra stress on your liver. For instance, don't drink alcohol. Follow the instructions on all medications and over-the-counter drugs. Check with your doctor before using any herbal remedies, as not all herbal products are safe.