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Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: What Are The Odds?

 

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The condition wherein the liver accumulates fat is also known as the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD. It may occur in many people who use very little alcohol; less than 2 drinks a day for men and just one drink a day for women. The disease is a common kind of liver disease in adults and in adolescents in the United States ranging from 25% to 30% in the recent years.

  • Part of the University of Michigan’s Hepatology Program called the Fatty Liver Disease Clinic provides treatment options and latest diagnostics to those who suffer from the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • There are also new therapies to boost their clinical trials.
  • They have a dietician to help their patients achieve their ideal weight as well as diet modification to prevent progression of the condition and improve insulin resistance.

There are two categories of fatty liver disease:

  1. Simple steatosis or the mere presence of fat in your liver with little scarring that is fibrosis or inflammation.
  2. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) that is having fat, various levels of scarring (fibrosis) and inflammation.

There are those with a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that develop excess scarring or cirrhosis in the liver. The complications of cirrhosis are also coupled with liver failure and even primary liver cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma.

Those diagnosed with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, in particular, are at risk of the liver condition, which can progress to cirrhosis. The disease, furthermore, is now the 2nd leading reason for primary liver cancer diagnosis.

People who have the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are also at a greater risk of getting a cardiovascular complication like atherosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries. It is vital, therefore, to note that managing NAFLD can decrease your risk of progressing to a cardiovascular disease in the future.

The 3 common factors placing patients at risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are:

  • Diabetes
  • Hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol levels, particularly high triglycerides)
  • Obesity

There are special medications and surgical procedures, intestinal bypass surgery for instance, that can lead to the disease. You could also be associated with several medical conditions including sleep apnea.

Those who suffer non-alcoholic fatty liver disease usually go through an unexplained increase in liver enzymes that can be detected using blood tests.

A CT scan, MRI or an Ultrasound are useful for NAFLD diagnosis.

However, a liver biopsy is usually seen as the standard way to determine how severe the condition has become. A liver biopsy is normally an outpatient procedure involving the insertion of a needle on the skin and getting a sample of the liver tissue in order to note the severity of the liver damage. A liver biopsy may also be used to compare and contrast simple steatosis with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. The said procedure can also provide information concerning the degree of scarring.

Once you are diagnosed with the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, all other types of chronic liver disease will be excluded. On the other hand, fatty liver can also be discovered in several liver conditions including viral hepatitis i.e. hepatitis C.

The main concept of treating NAFLD involves the attempt to resolve the risk factors like diabetes, abnormal lipid levels, and obesity.

There must be lifestyle changes to be adopted like physical exercise and weight loss with a diet rich in fiber, but low in saturated fats. You may also opt to try the natural form of Vitamin E that has been proven effective in patients with NASH.