World Liver Day is celebrate every year on April 19 to raise awareness of health problems and complications that can occur to this vital organ in our bodies. The day aims to promote health by highlighting common symptoms of liver disease and outlining prevention and management strategies.
There are many complications associated with the liver due to increased alcohol consumption. But not all liver complications are necessarily related to alcohol. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is quite common.
NAFLD, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is a condition that occurs due to an accumulation of excess fat in the liver. According to the UK National Health Service, NAFLD is generally considered harmless in its early stages, but it can cause significant liver damage if left untreated.
The liver recreates an important role in the body’s metabolic processes, such as the breakdown of food, the filtering of toxins, and the production of bile. However, when excess fat accumulates in the liver, it can interfere with its normal function and lead to NAFLD.
There are usually no noticeable symptoms in the early stages of NAFLD, making diagnosis difficult. However, as the condition progresses, it can cause inflammation, scarring, and cirrhosis, which can lead to severe liver damage and even liver failure.
Therefore, it is important to effectively manage NAFLD in the early stages through lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and weight control. In severe cases, medications or surgery may be necessary to control the condition and prevent further damage to the liver.
People who are obese, have type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance, among other reasons, are at higher risk of developing NAFLD.
To treat NAFLD, a doctor may prescribe medication to correct the problems caused by it, and in the worst case, the person may need to undergo a liver transplant. However, certain lifestyle changes can go a long way in reducing the effects of NAFLD.
As obesity was knowing to be one of the most important causes of NAFLD, the first natural way to reduce its effects is to start losing weight. To reduce fat formation in the liver, a 2017 guideline from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) recommends that obese and NAFLD patients lose between 3 and 5 percent of their total weight. It is important to consult with your doctor before beginning a weight loss program to determine the best course of motion for you. A dietitian can make an eating strategy to help you achieve your weight loss goals and make nutritious food choices.
Check your diet
To maintain a healthy diet, it is important to eat a balanced mix of fruits, vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates while limiting your intake of fat, sugar, and salt. It is also recommended to consume small meals throughout the day.
When we talk about diet, it is important to mention that sugar intake is harmful to NAFLD patients. According to research, fructose and sucrose may help the liver store fat over time. It is advise to avoid sweets, ice cream, cold drinks and sweet desserts.
Give up smoking
Although NAFLD is not caused by alcohol use, smoking can worsen the condition. Smoking can have a serious effect on the way drugs interact with your body and can also aggravate conditions related to NAFLD.
Smoking can cause oxidative stress on the liver, leading to inflammation and damage to liver cells. This damage can increase the risk of developing advanced stages of NAFLD, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Smoking can also reduce the effectiveness of medications used to treat NAFLD, making the condition more difficult to control.
Smoking can also increase the risk of developing other health problems, such as heart disease and lung cancer, which can worsen the complications of NAFLD.