Fatty Liver: What It Is, and How to Get Rid of It
Fatty liver disease is a disease that has become common in many parts of the globe, affecting more than about 25% of individuals globally.
It linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other disorders characterized by insulin resistance.
If the fatty liver doesn’t get addressed on time, it’s going to reach more severe diseases and other health problems.
What is Fatty Liver Disease?
Fatty liver occurs when an excessive amount of fat builds up in liver cells.
Although it’s reasonable to possess a small amount of fat in these cells, the liver is taken into account as fatty if more than 5% of it is fat.
While drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can cause fatty liver, in many cases, it doesn’t play a task.
Several disease conditions fall into the broad category of non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD), which is a common disease in adults and youngsters in Western.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) is that the initial, reversible stage of liver disease.
Unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed.
Over time, NAFL may cause a more severe liver condition referred to as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH.
NASH involves higher fat accumulation and inflammation that damages the liver cells, which can cause fibrosis, or scar tissue, as liver cells are repeatedly injured and die out.
Unfortunately, it’s challenging to predict whether the liver disease will reach NASH, which significantly increases the danger of cirrhosis (severe scarring that impairs liver function) and cancer of the liver.
NAFLD additionally linked to an increased risk of other diseases, including heart condition, diabetes, and kidney disease.
What is Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an umbrella term for a variety of liver conditions affecting people that drink little to no alcohol.
NAFLD is a common disease that is increasing around the globe, especially in Western nations affecting about one-quarter of the population.
It’s the first common sort of chronic disease.
Some individuals with NAFLD can develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an aggressive sort of liver disease, which is marked by liver inflammation and may cause advanced scarring (cirrhosis) and liver failure.
This kind of liver damage caused by NASH is similar to the damage caused by heavy alcohol use.
NAFLD usually causes no signs and symptoms. But when it does, one will feel:
- Pain in the upper right abdomen
- Swelling in abdominal
- Enlargement of blood vessels
- Enlarged spleen
- Redness in palms
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
People who are having the following diseases are more prone to have NAFLD and NASH:
Insulin resistance, during which your cells don’t take up sugar in response to the hormone insulin.
High blood glucose (prediabetes or type 2 diabetes).
High levels of fats.
This kind of health problem appears to promote the deposit of fat in the liver due to which this excess fat acts as a toxin to liver cells, causing liver inflammation and NASH, which can cause a build-up of scar tissue in the liver.
There are a specific range of diseases which can increase the chance of NAFLD which includes;
1. High level of cholesterol
2. High levels of triglycerides in the blood
3. Metabolic syndrome
4. Obesity, mainly when fat concentrated in the abdomen
5. Polycystic ovary syndrome
6. Sleep disorder
7. Type 2 diabetes
8. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
9. Underactive pituitary (hypopituitarism)
NASH is more likely to be found in the groups of people who are:
- Old aged people.
- People who are suffering from diabetes.
- People whose body fat concentrated is in the abdomen.
It is challenging to differentiate NAFLD from NASH without further testing.
The main complication of these diseases is cirrhosis, which is late-stage scarring within the liver.
Cirrhosis occurs in response to liver injury, like the inflammation in NASH.
Cirrhosis can lead to:
Fluid build-up in the abdomen.
Swelling of veins in the esophagus, which may rupture and bleed
Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy).
End-stage liver failure, which implies that the liver has stopped functioning.
Between 5% and 12% of individuals with NASH will reach cirrhosis.
If you want to reduce your risk of NAFLD:
Choose to have a healthy diet. Add a healthy plant-based diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Try to maintain a healthy weight.
If you’re overweight or obese, reduce the number of calories you eat every day and get more exercise.
If you’ve got a healthy weight, work to take care of it by choosing a healthy diet, and training.
Symptoms of Fatty Liver
There can be several signs and symptoms of fatty liver, but you will not even realize that you have got a fatty liver.
The following are the symptoms, although not all of these may be present.
1. Fatigue and weakness
2. Slight pain or fullness within the abdominal area
3. Rising levels of liver enzymes, including AST and ALT
4. The rise in insulin levels
5. The increase in triglyceride levels
If the fatty liver gets converted to NASH, the subsequent symptoms may develop:
1.Loss of appetite
2.Nausea and vomiting
3.Moderate to severe abdominal pain
4.Yellowing of eyes and skin
It’s essential to ascertain your doctor regularly for routine exams and blood tests, which will diagnose the liver disease at the first, reversible stage.
What causes Fatty liver Disease?
There are several factors which will cause or contribute to developing fatty liver:
Obesity: Obesity involves low-grade inflammation, which will increase liver fat storage. It has been estimated that around 30–90% of obese adults have NAFLD, and it’s growing drastically in children because of the childhood obesity epidemic.
Excess belly fat: Normal-weight people may develop liver disease if they’re “viscerally obese,” meaning that they carry an excessive amount of fat around their waistline.
Insulin resistance: Insulin resistance and high insulin levels result in liver fat storage in people with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
High intake of refined carbs: Frequent consumption of refined carbs promotes liver fat storage, especially when overweight or insulin-resistant individuals consume high amounts of refined carbs.
Sugary beverage consumption: Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, soft drinks, and energy drinks are high in fructose, which has been shown to increase liver fat accumulation in children and adults.
Impaired gut health: A recent research suggests that having an imbalance in gut bacteria, problems with gut barrier function (“leaky gut”), or other gut health issues may contribute to NAFLD development.
Diet for getting rid of fatty liver
There are two significant sorts of fatty liver disease — alcohol-induced and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Fatty liver disease affects nearly one-third of yank adults and is one of the leading contributors to liver failure.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease most ordinarily diagnosed in those people who are obese or sedentary and people who eat a highly-processed diet.
One of the most favorable ways to treat fatty liver disease, regardless of type, is with diet.
Fatty Liver disease means you’ve got an excessive amount of fat, which accumulated in your liver.
In a healthy body, the liver helps to get rid of toxins and produces bile, the digestive protein, but fatty liver disease damages the liver and prevents it from working well as it should.
In general, the diet for the fatty liver disease includes:
- Lots of fruits and vegetables
- High-fibers like legumes and whole grains
- Very less added sugar, salt, trans fat, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fat
- No alcohol
A low-fat, reduced-calorie diet can assist you to lose weight and reduce the danger of fatty liver disease. Ideally, if you’re overweight, you’d aim to lose a minimum of 10 percent of your weight.
Here are a couple of foods which will help in your healthy liver diet:
1. Coffee to lower abnormal liver enzymes
Studies have shown that coffee drinkers with liver disease have less liver damage than people who don’t drink this caffeinated beverage. Caffeine appears to lower the number of abnormal liver enzymes of individuals in danger of liver diseases.
2. Greens vegetables to prevent fat build-up
Broccoli is shown to help prevent the build-up of fat within the liver. Eating more green leaves, like spinach, Brussels sprouts, and kale will help you to reduce weight.
3. Tofu to prevent fat build-up
Soy protein, which is present in foods like tofu, may minimize fat build-up within the liver. Also, tofu is low in fat and high in protein.
4. Fish to improve the fat level
Fatty fish, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines, tuna, and trout, can help you to improve liver fat levels.
5. Oatmeal to maintain weight
Carbohydrates from whole grains like oatmeal will help you to boost your energy level, and the fiber content fills you up, which will help you to manage your body weight.
6. Walnuts to boost the liver function
Walnuts nuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that people with fatty liver disease who eat this nut have improved their liver function.
7. Avocado to avoid liver damage
Avocados are rich in fibers and high in healthy fats; research shows that it contains chemicals that slow down the liver damage. It is also rich in fibers, which may help to control the weight gain.
8. Milk and other low-fat dairies to protect from liver damage
Dairy is high in whey protein, which will protect the liver from further injuries.
9. Sunflower seeds for antioxidants
These nutty-tasting seeds are top in vitamin E, an antioxidant that will protect the liver from further damage.
10. Healthy oil for weight control
Healthy oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids. It’s healthier for cooking than margarine, butter, or shortening. Research shows that vegetable oil helps to lower liver enzyme levels and control weight.
11. Garlic for weight loss
Garlic helps to reduce weight and fat in people who are suffering from fatty liver disease. It helps to boost energy levels which in turn burns all the calories and make you fitter and healthier
12. Green tea for less fat absorption
Green tea helps to interfere with fat absorption, but the results aren’t conclusive yet. Researchers are studying whether tea can reduce fat storage within the liver and improve liver function. But tea also has many benefits, from lowering cholesterol to aiding with sleep.
Fatty liver treatment
As NAFLD shows no symptoms in most of the cases, it frequently involves medical attention when tests done for other reasons point to a liver problem.
This will happen if your liver looks unusual on ultrasound or if you’ve done an abnormal liver enzyme test.
Tests which are done to pinpoint the diagnosis and determine disease severity are:
1. Blood tests
2. Complete blood count test
3. Liver enzyme and liver function tests
4. Tests for chronic hepatitis (hepatitis A, hepatitis C, and others)
5. Celiac disease screening test
6. Fasting blood glucose
7. Hemoglobin A1C test
8.Lipid profile, which measures blood fats, like cholesterol and triglycerides
9. Imaging procedures
Imaging procedures are used to diagnose NAFLD include:
Abdominal ultrasound, which is initially done when the disease is suspected.
Computerized tomography (CT) scanning or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the abdomen. These techniques are inadequate to differentiate NASH from NAFLD, but still could also be used.
Transient elastography is an enhanced sort of ultrasound that measures the stiffness of your liver. Liver stiffness indicates fibrosis or scarring.
Magnetic resonance elastography works by combining MRI imaging with sound waves to make a visible map (elastogram) showing the stiffness of body tissues.
Liver tissue examination. If other tests are inconclusive, your doctor may recommend a procedure to get rid of a sample of tissue from your liver (liver biopsy). The tissue sample is examined during a laboratory to look for signs of inflammation and scarring.
A liver biopsy is often uncomfortable, and it does have small risks that your doctor will review with you intimately. This procedure is performed by a needle insertion through the wall and into the liver.
The first line of treatment is typically weight loss through a mixture of a proper healthy diet and exercise.
Ideally, a loss of 10% of the weight is desirable, but improvement in risk factors can become apparent if you lose even 3% to 5 of your starting weight.
Weight-loss surgery is additionally an option for those who ought to lose a great deal of weight.
For people who have cirrhosis because of NASH, liver transplantation may be an option.
Fatty liver can cause several health problems.
Fortunately, it can be reversed if diagnosed at an early stage.
Just by following a proper healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and maybe taking supplements can reduce excess liver fat and reduce the danger of its progression to more severe liver disease.
Fatty Liver Diseases; Source: Medlineplus Fatty Liver: What It Is, and How to Get Rid of It; Souce; Healthline Fatty Liver Disease (Hepatic Steatosis); Souce: Webmd