When people who consume little or no alcohol develop a fatty liver, it is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The incidence of this condition is increasing all over the world due to junk food and lack of physical activity. Obesity and diabetes are two of the most important causes behind developing a fatty liver. Some people with NAFLD will develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) which is an aggressive form of fatty liver. In this condition, the inflammation in the liver would increase and result in Liver Cirrhosis.
Symptoms - Some patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver would experience no symptoms while some may experience fatigue or pain in the upper right abdomen just below the rib cage. When the disease moves to the advanced stage of NASH then fluid collection in the abdomen, red palms, enlarged blood vessels just below the skin or yellowing of the eyes and the skin may be experienced.
Causes - Most of the people who suffer from NAFLD or NASH would have some of these health conditions - Obesity specially fat around the abdomen, uncontrolled diabetes, hypothyroidism, PCOS, High Cholesterol specially high levels of triglycerides, sleep apnea, hypopituitarism meaning underactive pituitary gland.
Diagnosis - The most basic examination which is very cheap and available everywhere is Ultrasound of the Abdomen which is capable of differentiating a fatty liver from a normal liver. Blood tests like Liver Function Test, Lipid Profile, HbA1C, Complete Blood Count, Hepatitis A, B and C are some of the other tests which are done after the ultrasound detects a fatty liver. More advanced tests like Triple Phase Liver CT Scan, Ultrasound Liver Elastography, MR Elastography or Liver Biopsy are done to differentitate a Fatty Liver from NASH. Advances in the field of Ultrasound and MRI technology can prevent Liver Biopsy which has some risk associated with it.
Prevention - Unlike Alcoholic Liver Disease, in NAFLD there is not much to quit. However one can reverse the disease by quitting lethargy and getting motivated to get into a fitter shape. Healthy Diet which includes raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds can work wonders in dissolving the body fat within few months. Stop eating cooked food and the fatty liver would become normal. Put on the sports shoes and start going for long walks. Raw diet will not only bring down the high sugar levels but will also provide you with the energy required for regular exercise. The hassle of cooking will also be a thing of the past and no dishes to wash will be an added advantage.
The moment you are diagnosed with Fatty Liver with or without alcohol, you should find a good liver specialist. Gastroenterologists are the doctors who are trained in the treatment of Liver and other GI diseases. Dr. Saurabh Singhal is one of the best Gastroenterologist in India for the treatment of Fatty Liver. The line of treatment in most of the cases is Lifestyle modification resulting in weight loss. Weight Loss of 10% is ideal but even 3-5% of weight loss would go a long way in reversing some of the harmful effects of the disease. Morbidly obese people would benefit by going for weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery. Those who are in advanced stage of Liver Cirrhosis may have to undergo Liver Transplant Surgery. Our team led by Dr Ankur Garg has done more than 1500 successful Liver Transplant Surgeries.
Lifestyle Modification - Eating Healthy Plant Based Raw Diet will ease the pain of weight loss. Going for total raw diet will result in higher levels of energy. This will help you in going for regular exercise. As the body weight goes down, your energy levels will further rise and result in more exercise. Soon you will we doing 10-12 kms of walk every day without much effort and the body toning will start taking place. The tyres would disappear and you would feel good with your body.
At LivCure we have developed a programme which gives 360 degree solutions for all the problems of Liver and other Gastrointestinal Diseases.
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Dr. Ankur Garg
Liver Transplant & HPB Surgeon
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