Liver disease and liver problems are well-known side effects of drinking too much of alcohol, but there are also liver diseases that can affect the body in people who drink little to no alcohol. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) refers to a range of liver conditions generating from too much fat stored in liver cells. It is becoming increasingly common, especially in western nations and among people ages 40-50.
What Are The Signs And Causes of NAFLD?
Doctors aren’t 100% sure what causes fatty liver disease, but there are known risk factors. These risk factors include obesity, high blood sugar, high levels of fats in the blood, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, PCOS, underactive thyroids, or underactive pituitary gland. Complications of NAFLD can be minimal, including fluid buildup in the abdomen, or can be life threatening, including liver cancer or liver failure. Signs of the disease include having an enlarged liver, fatigue, pain in the upper right abdomen, abdominal swelling, enlarged blood vessels just below the skin surface, enlarged breasts in men, an enlarged spleen, red palms, and jaundice, which refers to yellowing of the skin and eyes. It’s time to call your doctor if you have any persistent signs mentioned above.
What Treatments Are Available For NAFLD?
A new study indicates that highly structured health education, nutrition, and exercise programs are a good resource for patients. The study included 495 patients, 236 of whom had evidence of NAFLD. They were enrolled in a 12 week program that included daily lectures on nutrition in combination with moderate intensity aerobic exercise. The program helped most of its participants lose weight and see a drop in their BMI, resulting in a reduction in the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease symptoms and concerns. If you’re concerned that you might fall into this category of patients with NAFLD, it might be time to visit Dr. Sameer Islam for a checkup. NAFLD is not always evident in physical exams, so you may need blood tests or imaging exams to diagnose underlying issues. In the meantime, a healthy approach to diet and exercise is a good starting point to reducing your risk of the disease.