Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition of additional fat buildup in the liver, it is on the rise —around 25 percent people in India are in different stages of this disease. It normally does not come up with any symptoms, and is commonly first found by accident when an imaging study (such as an CT scan, abdominal ultrasound, or MRI) is requested for another reason.
Manier times in our path labs in Dwarka. We have been able to identify fatty liver disease in our investigations in abnormal liver blood tests. NAFLD is intimately associated to conditions like obesity and diabetes. It’s also associated to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Understanding of NAFLD and its causes, consequences, and treatment options is still a work in progress.
Types of fatty liver disease
There are many medical terms specific to fatty liver disease, and it can get confusing. The medical umbrella term NAFLD refers to a fatty liver that is not related to alcohol use. NAFLD is further divided into two groups:
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL), otherwise known as simple fatty liver, or
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
Recognising simple fatty liver from NASH is important. Why? Since most people, having simple fatty liver do not have sickness related to the liver, whereas patients with NASH have inflammation and injury to their liver cells. This increases the risk of progression to adverse conditions like fibrosis which is scarring of the liver, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Fortunately, majority of the people with NAFLD have simple fatty liver and not NASH; it is estimated that 3% to 7% of the population has NASH.
Normally we do a liver biopsy in our path lab in dwarka to know if a person has simple fatty liver or NASH. These biopsies are done at the minimal price in our path lab in Dwarka. Scientists are engaged in research to find noninvasive ways to identify who is at the substantial risk for fibrosis, and thus who should go on to have a liver biopsy.
How to keep your liver healthy
If you have been diagnosed with fatty liver disease, it is essential to keep your liver as healthy and you should avoid anything that can damage your liver. Here are some critical things you should do.
- You should avoid drinking alcohol and make sure all of your medications, herbs, and supplements are toxic to the liver; you can crosscheck your list with this LiverTox database. Some cold medicines those contain alchohal may also be harmful for your liver.
- Prevention is better than cure: So get vaccinated to protect against liver viruses hepatitis A and B.
- You should also keep in check the other health conditions that might also affect your liver, and also check with your doctor if you might have other underlying, treatable diseases contributing to your NAFDL.
- Get regular screening tests for liver cancer if you already have cirrhosis.
Prognosis: Does drug therapy works?
We have been working with many patients at Ayushman Gastro Clinic. We use drugs and other options like diet control and physical activities. However, not everyone will benefit from the same drugs or treatment, and there has been some concern about safety and side effects. If you are diagnosed with NASH, it’s best to speak to a doctor about whether these treatments are appropriate for you, as they are not for everyone. There are more drugs in the pipeline, some with promising initial study results.
The most effective treatment is lifestyle changes
Most effective treatment so far for fatty liver disease does not involve medications, but rather lifestyle changes. However, these changes are typically hard to achieve and maintain for many people.
To achieve the best results and Lose weight. Reducing just 5% of your body weight might be enough to reduce the fat in the liver. With more reduction the liver will increase. Target a gradual weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week, as very rapid weight loss may worsen inflammation and fibrosis. If you want you can explore the option of weight loss surgery with your doctor, if you aren’t making any headway with weight loss and your health is suffering.
- Aerobic exercise also leads to decreased fat in the liver, and with vigorous intensity, possibly also decreased inflammation independent of weight loss.
- Good Diet, You should keep an healthy diet and consult a doctor or a dietitian for making a suitable diet plan for you. This nutrition plan should emphasizes on fruits, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, legumes, using olive or canola oil instead of butter, limiting red meat, and eating more fish and lean poultry.
- Drink coffee, maybe? Many studies have shown that patients with NAFLD who drank coffee (about two cups every day) had a decreased risk in fibrosis. However, take into consideration the downsides of regular caffeine intake.
Introducing these changes in your life may be difficult but the benefits are immense if you have fatty liver, so give it your best shot! And do not forget that the greatest risk for people with a fatty liver is still cardiovascular disease. So, stay fit and stay healthy.
Please free to contact us for any suggestions and queries.