Fatty liver disease is a health problem that increasingly affects many people, including children. It is a disease that accumulates over time, taking more than 1-2 years to reach a dangerous level.
Although fatty liver disease is not as scary as other life-threatening diseases, it is a health condition that no one can afford to overlook.
Therefore, it is necessary to adopt lifestyle adjustments like regular exercise and regulation of your diet to control your weight and manage fatty liver disease.
Understanding foie gras
The liver is an essential organ that supports many vital functions. These functions include producing bile to aid digestion, storing iron, creating protein, clotting blood, and removing toxins that could lead to infection.
Fatty liver disease is a not uncommon condition in which too much fat builds up in the liver. A healthy liver contains no fat or only a small amount. The problem starts when fat is 5-10% of liver weight.
The accumulation of fat in the liver can result from alcohol abuse (alcoholic fatty liver disease) or other factors. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is usually seen in people who are overweight or obese.
Symptoms of fatty liver disease are not always obvious. Therefore, it is rare for a person to know they have this disease unless they are diagnosed in a test for another reason. However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms become more noticeable. Individuals can feel anything from a pain or dull ache in the upper right part of the abdomen to extreme fatigue, rapid weight loss, and a lot of weakness.
Foie gras: is it dangerous?
Most cases of fatty liver disease are not serious and do not progress to other stages. However, 7-30% of people with the disease may experience symptoms that worsen over time. There are four stages of fatty liver disease, with the last stage being the most dangerous. Early-stage NAFLD does not cause any harm, but one can suffer severe liver damage if it gets worse.
Steatosis, also known as simple fatty liver disease, is a usually harmless buildup of fat in liver cells. It can only be diagnosed during examinations. In nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, also known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the liver becomes inflamed, resulting in damaged tissue.
A study shows that fibrosis stages F3 and F4 increase the risk of liver complications and death. This is because fibrosis results from long-lasting inflammation, which causes scar tissue to form around where the liver is damaged. Although the liver can still function normally, the damage caused by fibrosis makes it more vulnerable to complications.
Cirrhosis is the most serious damage that can occur after years of inflammation. Here, the liver shrinks and healthy tissue becomes scarred and lumpy. It can completely block liver function since the damage is permanent, leading to liver failure or cancer.
Suppose cirrhosis develops, then the symptoms simultaneously worsen. They include yellow skin and eyes, also known as jaundice, as well as itchy skin and swollen ankles, legs, feet, and stomach.
Note from The Fitness Freak
If you are diagnosed with fatty liver disease at an early stage, it is not a scary condition. However, if you don’t receive proper treatment, fatty liver disease can become serious and damaging. Additionally, neglecting fatty liver disease can quickly lead to many other health conditions, including high blood fat levels, obesity, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease.
Treatment and prevention
Although there is no specific medication for fatty liver disease, healthcare professionals focus on controlling factors that may have contributed to the condition. Most of the time, they recommend making lifestyle changes that will dramatically improve your health. Some common lifestyle changes are:
- Avoid alcohol
- Medications that control Diabetescholesterol and fats in the blood
- Take vitamin E and medications that treat diabetes in certain situations
As a result, the best way to treat fatty liver disease is to prevent it in the first place. You can do this while maintaining your overall health and well-being:
Healthy weight management
If you are obese or overweight, you need to exercise regularly, cut extra calories, and eat a healthy, balanced diet. If you already have a healthy weight, you should maintain it by exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet.
Whether or not you have fatty liver disease, regular exercise is essential. Strength training or resistance exercises can help improve fatty liver disease. Aim for moderate to high level aerobic exercise for 30 to 60 minutes, five days a week.
Healthy eating practices
Choose a healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats to ensure you stay within your limits. Also, avoid fatty foods and reduce alcohol consumption.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease usually has no symptoms, so patients can live with it for many years without knowing they have it. However, about 30% of patients eventually develop liver inflammation or scarring. Of these, about 20% will develop end-stage cirrhosis, which can lead to liver failure and cancer.
Losing around 10% of body weight, exercising regularly, reducing alcohol intake and eliminating processed foods can help reduce the risk of developing these complications.
Speak to an expert nutritionist at HealthifyMe to find a personalized eating plan and lifestyle advice.