The Liver typically contains some fat. However, if this fat content increases up to 5% of liver weight or more fatty liver can occur.
Fatty Liver is becoming increasingly common in many parts of the world and it is seen in almost 20-30% people of the Indian Population.
If not cured it can lead to serious liver diseases like Liver Cirrhosis which has no cure.
What are the types of fatty liver disease?
There are two types of fatty liver disease:
ALCOHOLIC FATTY LIVER DISEASE
People who are heavy drinkers may develop alcoholic fatty liver disease. Since the breakdown of alcohol occurs in liver the accumulation of harmful substances produced from its breakdown can result into liver cell damage and inflammation.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease can develop into alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis.
NON-ALCOHOLIC FATTY LIVER DISEASE
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs in people who are not heavy drinkers. It is linked to obesity, type-2 diabetes and other disorders characterized by insulin resistance.
SYMPTOMS OF FATTY LIVER DISEASE
Doctors often call fatty liver a silent disease. This is because the person might not experience any symptoms as the disease progresses.
However fatty liver may enlarge the liver which may cause pain in upper right side of abdomen (just few inches below the chest).
Early symptoms may include:
- loss of appetite
- feeling sick or vomiting
- weight loss
- swollen abdomen and legs
- Yellowish skin and whites of eyes
What causes fatty liver?
Fatty liver is a consequence of a multiple factors. These factors may either be solely responsible or may together contribute to the disease.
· Obesity: It involves inflammation that may promote fat storage in liver. It is estimated that 30-90% of the obese adults have Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
· High Blood Pressure and insulin resistance (Type 2 Diabetes)
· Metabolic syndrome is a group of medical conditions and characteristics linked to obesity.
· High intake of refined carbs and excess intake of sugary beverages.
There are currently no medications to treat NAFLD. Depending on the stage of the disease it can be reversed by some lifestyle changes.
Gradually reducing body weight by at least 7–10% can keep a check on the disease.
However, losing weight too quickly can make the condition worse. A healthful way to lose weight gradually is with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
People who have alcoholic fatty liver disease may be able to reverse liver damage and inflammation or prevent it from getting worse by not consuming alcohol. However, this is not going to reverse cirrhosis.
LIFESTYLE CHANGES THAT CAN PREVENT FATTY LIVER
Making lifestyle changes is very important in treating fatty liver disease.
Lifestyle changes may include:
Abstaining from alcohol- Some people might find giving up alcohol extremely difficult, but a doctor can advise on how to do so in a safe and supported way.
· Eating a balanced diet
Cutting on carbs and especially refined carbs and including food that promotes loss of liver fat can help reverse fatty liver disease.
Doing regular exercise-Making exercise a part of daily routine and integrating exercises which especially help in burning fat can help reduce obesity and hence can cure fatty liver.
FOODS THAT PROMOTES LOSS OF LIVER FAT
Green Tea-Some researches suggest that presence of antioxidants called catechins helps to decrease inflammation in liver.
Soluble Fibres- Consuming 10-14gms of soluble fibre daily is seen to be beneficial in case of insulin resistance. Some common sources of soluble fibres are oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits and carrots.
Monounsaturated fatty acids-Making items rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like olive oil, avocados and nuts a part of your daily diet may help promote liver fat loss.
SUPPLEMENTS THAT HELP TO CURE FATTY LIVER
Researchers suggest that certain vitamins, herbs and other supplements may help reduce liver fat and reduce the risk of liver disease advancement.
However, in most cases, experts say that further research is required to confirm this.
In addition, it is very important to speak with your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you are taking medication.
MILK THISTLE, BERBERINE, OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS are some supplements that help promote liver fat loss.
Fatty liver is a condition which can lead to serious health issues and in severe cases to liver cirrhosis which has no cure.
But if diagnosed early it can be reversed by making some changes in daily life.
Losing some weight, avoiding overeating, including certain foods in your diet and cutting back on sugar and carbs may help reduce liver fat.
Exercises like endurance exercise, strength training can help reduce liver fat. Working out daily is the key.
If a person is having any symptoms of fatty liver disease, they should visit a doctor soon.