One of the main functions of the liver is to filter blood coming from the digestive tract before passing it to the rest of the body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and digests drugs the body ingests. When there is too much fat in the liver this process is halted, and a number of warning symptoms ensue which causes fatty liver disease.
Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease
WebMD states, “With ALD as well as NAFLD, there are usually no symptoms. Some people may have signs such as tiredness or pain in the upper right side of the belly where their liver is.
If you have NASH or get cirrhosis, you may have symptoms such as:
- Swollen belly
- Enlarged blood vessels underneath your skin
- Larger-than-normal breasts in men
- Red palms
- Skin and eyes that appear yellowish, due to a condition called jaundice”
|To know about: What, How & Why Of Fatty Liver Disease|
Causes and Risk Factors
According to WebMD, “For ALD, the cause is too much alcohol. You may be even more likely to get it if you drink a lot and
- Are obese
- Are malnourished
- Have chronic viral hepatitis, especially hepatitis C
- Have genes that make you more likely to get it
- Are an African-American or Hispanic male
- Age — the older you are, the more likely it becomes.
The reason why some people with NAFLD have simple fatty liver along with this others get NASH isn’t known. Genes may be a reason. NAFLD or NASH is more likely if:
- You’re overweight or obese
- Your body doesn’t respond to insulin as it should (called insulin resistance) or if you have type 2 diabetes
- You have high levels of triglycerides or “bad” (LDL) cholesterol or low levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol
- You’re older
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome
- Suffer from sleep apnea
- You have an underactive thyroid (the doctor will call this hypothyroidism)
- You have an underactive pituitary gland (you’ll hear this called hypopituitarism)
- You’re malnourished
- You’ve lost weight rapidly
- You’ve been exposed to certain toxins and chemicals
- You have metabolic syndrome. This is a mix of conditions that make you more likely to get type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease. With metabolic syndrome, you may have any three of these conditions:
- Large waist size
- High triglycerides or LDL cholesterol
- Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
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Reasons why you may get NAFLD or NASH. They include:
- Medical conditions that affect how your body uses or stores fat
- Hepatitis C or other infections
- Fast weight loss
- Taking certain medicines such as glucocorticoids, methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), a synthetic estrogen, tamoxifen (Nolvadex, Soltamox), and others
- Gallbladder removal. Some people who have surgery to remove their gallbladder are more likely to have NAFLD.”
Ways to Reverse/Treat a Fatty Liver
The good news is you can reverse fatty liver disease before it becomes too serious. Dr. Bellinger says, “avoid foods with added sugars-these sugars can increase fat buildup in the liver over time. These foods include soft drinks, cakes, flavored yogurts, and sugary cereals.” Dr. Bellinger also suggests, “try eating an omega 3 supplement like nuts, seeds and oily fish because they contain polyunsaturated fats that may reduce liver fat and improve cholesterol levels, losing excess weight-this can be achieved through exercise or watching your diet. it’s advisable to lose between 3-5 percent of the bodyweight so as to reduce fat buildup in the liver.” And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.
Apart from reducing the amount of alcohol consumed, losing weight and exercising are key factors for reducing your risk.
Bupa explains: “This can reverse some of the build-ups of fat and even some of the fibrosis in your liver.”
The healthy body adds that it’s important not to lose weight too quickly though because this could cause problems with your liver.
“Exercise will help you to lose any excess weight you may have. It may also help to reduce damage to your liver even if you don’t successfully lose any weight.”