Alcohol or drug abuse is not the only way to weaken your liver. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, or NAFLD is the build up of fat in your liver in people who drink minimally or not at all. It is currently the leading type of liver disease in children and the number of afflicted individuals has doubled in the past twenty years.
Although, there is currently a limited understanding of what exactly causes NAFLD, there have been links found between preexisting conditions and the onset of NAFLD. These conditions include obesity, Hyperglycemia or high blood pressure, insulin resistance, or high levels of fat. There are also risk factors that can make one more susceptible to acquiring the disease.
- High Cholesterol
- Sleep Apnea
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Metabolic Syndrome
Unlike other common diseases, it is unique in the sense that it does not have a physical appearance. There are no seen or felt symptoms, and therefore, diagnosis on this disease is difficult. In extremely rare cases, individuals may experience fatigue, weight loss, or discomfort. The disease also has the ability to scar the liver as well as cause inflammation.
A medical diagnosis is required to determine if a patient has the disease.
There is no direct treatment for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, however doctors will attempt to treat the underlying cause such as obesity. To treat the cause, there are three methods: Self-care, medication, or specialists.
- Exercise: It is important to maintain a healthy weight because not only does this reduce susceptibility to disease, but improves your cardiovascular system. Exercises such as aerobic activity are recommended.
- Diet: Two of the biggest contributors to weight gain are carbohydrates and fat. By avoiding foods rich in either of these or eating them sparingly, it will be easier to lose weight and stay healthy. Eating foods high in protein and fat are recommended.
- Vitamins: Vitamins are necessary for full body growth and function. Consuming the recommended amount per day through foods can assist in growth and development. Vitamin E repairs damage and restores the liver.
- Anti-diabetic: These medications control the amount of sugar in the blood. Not only does this clean your bloodstream, but helps with weight loss.
- Supplements: Certain supplements are recommended by doctors to reduce liver fat such as Milk Thistle, Berberine, and Glutathione.
- Hepatologist: Focus on liver and gallbladder
- Gastroenterologist: Focus on digestive system
- Nutritionist: Focus on food and diet
- Endocrinologist: Focus on metabolic and hormonal disorders
It is recommended to visit one of the above specialists for medical diagnosis as there are no known symptoms for self-diagnosis.