Fatty liver disease, also known as hepatic steatosis, is a condition where excess fat accumulates in the liver. It is a very common disease which is categorised into two types: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic liver disease.
Fatty liver disease usually causes no symptoms at all but in some cases people suffering from it might experience abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue and exhaustion. People should opt for natural methods of eliminating and curing the disease by adopting various lifestyle changes and healthy and balanced diets along with proper management of any other medical condition that might have triggered the fatty liver condition. In cases where natural methods do not seem to work, expert consultation for the management of the fatty liver disease should be considered.
Categories of fatty liver disease
There are two types of fatty liver disease:
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver or NAFLD is a condition caused by excessive fat deposits in the liver seen majorly in obese and overweight people. NAFLD causes no symptoms in the majority of cases but in a few cases, people might experience weight loss, fatigue and abdominal pain. In rare cases, people are at risk of developing NASH or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis which is usually characterised by inflammation of the liver and might progress to liver cirrhosis and even liver failure.
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease. Also known as alcoholic steatohepatitis, AFLD is seen in people who consume excessive amounts of alcohol which results in the deposit of too much fat in the liver.
Causes of fatty liver disease
Several factors are responsible for causing the two types of fatty liver disease:
- Unhealthy lifestyle routine. The onset of most health problems is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle pattern. Not taking a good and balanced diet, consuming excess alcohol, smoking, eating junk food, and lacking physical activity has led to the development of many diseases, and fatty liver is one of them.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol. The main cause of alcoholic fatty liver disease is the overconsumption of alcohol. People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol or in large volumes are at the highest risk of developing AFLD.
- Unhealthy food choices. There are certain foods that will do you more harm than benefit if consumed excessively or regularly. Foods like red meat, high-sugar foods, candy bars, sweetened juices, concentrated drinks, genetically modified foods, fried foods and foods rich in saturated and trans fat are the contributing factors to the development of fatty liver disease.
- Medical conditions. Fatty liver disease also develops in some people with certain medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and people having high triglycerides.
- Obesity and overweight. People who are obese or overweight are also at risk of developing fatty liver disease.
Symptoms of fatty liver
Usually, there are no symptoms at all, but in some cases, people might experience:
- Swelling in the abdominal region
- Palms that appear red
- An enlarged spleen
- Weight loss
- Fatigue and exhaustion without any rigorous physical activity
- Skin and eyes that appear yellow
Treatment of fatty liver disease
Fatty liver disease has become very common in today’s era and millions of people around the world are affected by it every year. There are several factors responsible for an alarming increase in the number of people affected by it and multiple measures and operational guidelines are being introduced for the proper administration and diagnosis of fatty liver disease.
Natural methods to keep your liver healthy
- Include healthy foods in your diet. The best way to prevent and cure fatty liver disease is by including a healthy diet in your routine. Fruits and vegetables, foods rich in minerals like legumes and grains, and foods rich in fibre and antioxidants should be included.
- Avoid unhealthy foods. For treating fatty liver disease it is best to avoid certain foods containing excess salt, saturated fat, or refined sugar. One should also avoid excessive consumption of red meat, processed and genetically modified foods, junk foods etc.
- Be active. It is very important to be active throughout most of your day in order to reverse the adverse effects of fatty liver disease. Some forms of physical activity whether exercising, taking a brisk walk, yoga, playing around with kids, doing household chores or climbing stairs instead of taking an elevator should be considered to keep your body active and fit.
- Quit unhealthy lifestyle habits. Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking excess amounts or large volumes of alcohol, eating excess amounts of junk food, not doing any physical activity, and following an improper sleeping pattern, should be avoided at all costs.
- Weight loss. Most health issues are linked to major weight gain and obesity in most cases. It is important to maintain a healthy body mass index for remaining healthy and curing the adverse effects of fatty liver disease. Try to engage yourself in various physical activities that will help in burning substantial amounts of calories and aiding weight loss.
Fatty liver disease can be prevented and cured if properly taken care of. Health should not be taken for granted as without it, you can simply not even perform the basic functions of life. The treatment of fatty liver includes following a number of lifestyle and dietary changes and in some cases, a doctor’s treatment and expertise should be opted for. You should make sure to pay a routine visit to your doctor for the detection of any underlying conditions like fatty liver before it gets too late.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.