Fatty liver is a common liver condition among the Kerala population now. What exactly is fatty liver? Do you know that the fat concentration in our liver is lower than even five per cent? Any fat build-up above this level can make your liver a fatty one. As the level of fat concentration increases, the stage of the disease will advance from grades one to two and three. With these grades, the severity of the condition also increases.
Generally, fatty livers are identified through ultrasound scans. A gastroenterologist, who specializes in gastrological and liver disease and conditions, would suggest a liver function test (LFT) to assess your liver. Further evaluations are recommended based on the results of the liver function test. Although, the LFT results can be ordinary in 25 per cent of people, it requires further examinations to conclude. For this reason, we need a specialist to diagnose fatty liver rather than just the test.
Usually, fatty livers are recognized by the doctor during ultrasounds scans. People often undergo ultrasounds to find out the reason behind sudden abdominal pain. However, you should note that the fatty liver does not contribute to abdominal pain. So, once the fatty liver is identified, it is better to see a specialist rather than jump into your conclusions. Many lifestyle changes support disease prevention, disease control and even speed up the treatment of fatty liver. However progressed your disease is, these lifestyle choices and decisions can help you get far in the recovery.
1. Avoid having unscientific treatments
Despite being a common liver condition: fatty liver is often not taken seriously. Lack of awareness and indifference are the culprits behind the hiking number of fatty liver cases in our state. Having not many apparent symptoms can also lead to late diagnosis. Even when people are diagnosed with fatty liver, many hesitate to take up adequate lifestyle changes. There is also this tendency to fall for unauthentic and unscientific medicines to treat fatty liver.
When you are diagnosed with fatty liver or any liver condition, the first and foremost important thing to note is that any medicine you eat goes to your liver. As the liver is already vulnerable, you should be extra cautious about what you put in there. Pseudo-scientific treatments will definitely worsen your liver conditions. So, it is always best to consult a gastroenterologist or liver specialist before you try any home remedies for liver conditions.
2. Put an end to Alcoholism
Regular or social drinking, alcohol is detrimental to the fatty liver. Doctors strictly recommend total abstinence from alcohol for the survival of the patient. Alcohol gets metabolized in our livers. Liver enzymes transform alcohol into a chemical compound called acetaldehyde which is harmful to human bodies. These chemicals are responsible for nausea, headaches, flushes, and other discomforts that follow. Flushing is a widespread symptom in the East Asian population. Apart from causing these distressing symptoms, acetaldehyde can also cause other serious problems varying from liver inflammation to cirrhosis. Hence it is very critical to quit having alcohol when diagnosed with fatty liver.
3. Control your diabetes
People with diabetes should be cautious to avoid having a fatty liver. Type-2 diabetes makes one more susceptible to fatty liver. When you have diabetes, it means that the insulin produced by the body is not working in the way it is supposed. The result is the accumulation of glucose in the body. Likewise, in diabetic patients with obesity, fat metabolism can also be disrupted, causing diabetes and fatty liver to worsen.
Generally, in women, diabetes is the prime cause of fatty liver. Hence, diabetic patients should have follow-up check-ups at regular intervals. Doctors suggest maintaining the HBA1C under the safer limit. Diabetic patients should also maintain a healthy weight to cut down the risks of fatty liver. Even if you are already diagnosed with a fatty liver, controlling diabetes can have a favorable impact.
4. Quit smoking
Despite being the prime villain behind respiratory diseases and oral and lung cancers, new researches show that the extending ill-effects of smoking can even cause fatty liver. Passive smoking is also proven to increase your chances of having a fatty liver in later life. Although, we are not sure how the chemical compounds and residues of smoking cause fatty liver. From prompting a fatty liver to worsening the condition, smoking has a dangerous relationship with the liver. Those diagnosed with fatty liver should quit smoking as soon as possible. Giving up smoking is beneficial in many ways as it might decrease your chance of developing liver cancer.
5. Be cautious about IBD
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that leads to chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, blood discharge, and weight loss. There are several types of IBDs, such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Fatty liver is prevalent in people with IBDs. IBDs are responsible for the inflammation of the intestines and metabolic disruptions that may speed up or lead to fatty liver. So, accurate diagnosis and timely treatment of IBDs will prevent fatty livers.
6. Maintain a healthy weight
Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver (NAFLD) is interlinked with obesity. It is a type of fatty liver condition that arises in people who do not consume alcohol. Obese people have more fat build-up in their bodies. As the fat deposits in the body increase, the liver cells will also catch up with the fat levels. The increasing fat concentration can gradually transform the liver into a fatty one. So, reducing weight also has a positive impact on the fatty liver.
Using BMI, which plots your weight against your height, you can find out what is your healthy body weight. If the BMI is between 23 to 24.9 kg/meter square, you are overweight, and if it is above 25, you are obese. So, the first step is the find your BMI and reduce your weight.
Reducing body weight can stop the fatty liver from worsening if the condition is in its early years. However, it does not mean that you have to lose weight rapidly. On the contrary, swift weight loss can worsen the fatty liver or other related conditions.
Scientifically speaking, reducing 10-12 per cent of the total body mass in six months is the best way. It means you can cut down two kilograms per month, and losing weight at this pace is best for people with fatty liver. Like adults, obesity in children can gradually lead to liver conditions in later life. Parents should take extra care of children’s weight as it can have a huge impact on their liver.
7. Avoid the sedentary lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle can increase your chances of having a fatty liver. The aversion to simplest physical tasks such as taking walks or the stairs and exercise leads to decreased energy consumption and increased fat accumulation. For such people, the fatty liver can worsen in a short period.
Exercising for at least 30-40 minutes five days a week is the best solution. Exercises such as cycling and swimming are especially advantageous. The thing about working out is consistency. You can team up with friends and ensure continuation. It also adds a fun element to the activities.
Liver Cirrhosis: Avoid having these
A liver cirrhosis patient should be aware of many factors such as diet and lifestyle that directly affects liver health.
- Salt- If liver cirrhosis leads to water retention in the liver; you should limit your salt intake.
- Drinking Water- Patients need to know the correct amount of fluids they can consume. Seek the help of experts to finalize it.
- Pain killers- People with liver cirrhosis should avoid taking painkillers.
- Diet- There should not be long intervals between your meals.
- Alcohol & tobacco – Follow total abstinence.
- Sedentary lifestyle- Be more active.
- Check-ups- Follow your blood check-up & abdominal examination routines consistently.
8. Cholesterol & fat
High cholesterol brings diabetes, hypertension and obesity along with it. A combination of these three is called Metabolic Syndrome. The metabolic Syndrome makes people more vulnerable to having fatty liver. It is critical to control and treat the metabolic problem, and treating Metabolic Syndrome prevents fatty liver.
Cholesterol is the main culprit here. If your diet contributes to high cholesterol, it’s time to revamp it. The rule of thumb is to limit the consumption of fried foods, sweets, and high-calorie items. Avoid any form of junk food. If you cannot lower cholesterol through diet changes and exercises, you can start taking Statin medicines under the advice of a doctor. These steps can lessen the severity of fatty liver if not stop it from deteriorating.
9. Be aware of your medications
Our liver metabolizes most of the medications. On that account, taking any drugs should be under the supervision of the doctor. Wrong medications or the overuse of over–the–counter drugs can induce or worsen fatty liver. Those who are diagnosed with fatty liver should be extremely careful.
Some medications may aggravate fatty liver. They are medications containing steroids, psychiatric medications for depression, cancer drugs such as Tremoxifen, and arthritis medicines such as Methotrexate. The fatty liver goes downhill with such medications. Conducting a liver Function test during the intervals of the treatment phase is the only solution to this problem.
10. Limit your risks of infections
There are certain viral infections that affect the liver. Infections such as Viral Hepatitis B and C are proven to cause fatty liver. Studies testify that among the total hepatitis C population, a whopping per cent of 50 developed fatty liver.
A blood test can identify the presence of such viruses in our bodies. Hepatitis b has a vaccine that successfully prevents the onset of viral infection, while hepatitis C infection can be controlled through proper treatment. Not sharing shaving sets, needles, and blades with others and engaging only in safe sex are some of the healthy habits that can shield you against hepatitis infections. Avoid having tattoo also reduces the risk.