Evaluating the Risks of Fatty Liver Disease
1. A sedentary lifestyle, increased alcohol consumption and obesity are contributing towards making India the “world capital of liver diseases” by 2025
2. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is now one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease
3. Urbanisation and changes linked with it like sedentary lifestyle, fatty food, uncontrolled blood sugar, obesity, smoking and high alcohol intake is leading Indians towards higher incidence of fatty liver disease
4. Timely diagnosis of disease is even more important, otherwise it could develop into cancers, like those of the stomach
The liver is an important organ that is involved in the breakdown of food, storage of energy and nutrients, production of bile to digest food, breaking down toxins entering the body etc. It is normal to have some amount of fat in the liver, however if more than 5-10% of the weight of the liver is made up of fat, then the individual is said to develop a “fatty liver” or steatosis.
There are mainly 2 types of fatty liver disease namely, Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD) and Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
• Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD) – Excessive consumption of alcohol is responsible for this type of fatty liver disease. Sometimes, the presence of the disease can be seen after a short period of excessive alcohol consumption as well
• Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) – There are no exact causes of developing NAFLD. Studies suggest that increased amounts of bacteria in your small intestine and other intestinal changes may be linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Signs and Symptoms
Fatty liver disease may not necessarily show any symptoms at all.
The disease is usually diagnosed with other test results like that of blood tests and ultrasound of the liver. If inflammation is found in the liver during a physical examination, fatty liver disease may be suspected. As the disease progresses, some symptoms may be noticed, including:
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Mental confusion, trouble concentrating or impaired judgement
There are no specific medications to treat fatty liver disease. The doctor will recommend lifestyle changes to help improve the condition.
Here are some steps to help prevent and manage fatty liver disease:
• Reduce and restrict the consumption of alcoholic beverages
• Maintain a healthy weight. Also, it is important to lose weight gradually than opting for crash diet
• Avoid consuming fatty or processed food containing high amounts of fats, preservatives, salt, sugar and other additives. Also, limit high-carbohydrate-containing foods like potatoes, corn, bread, grits and rice
• By preventing lifestyle-related health problems such as diabetes or high cholesterol, fatty liver disease can be managed
• Regular exercise and physical activities help you manage obesity, which can help in reducing the chances of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.