Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a range of liver conditions affecting people who drink moderate to no alcohol. As the name implies, the main characteristic of NAFLD is too much fat stored in liver cells. NAFLD is increasingly common around the world, especially in Western nations, affecting about one-quarter of the population.
Some individuals with NAFLD can develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an aggressive form of fatty liver disease, which is marked by liver inflammation and may progress to advanced scarring (cirrhosis) and liver failure. This damage is same as of the damage caused by heavy alcohol use.
Symptoms of NAFLD:
NAFLD usually causes no signs and symptoms. When it does, they may include:
• Pain in the upper right abdomen
• Abdominal swelling (ascites)
• Enlarged blood vessels just beneath the skin’s surface
• Enlarged spleen
• Red palms
Risk Factors of NAFLD:
A wide range of diseases and conditions can increase your risk of NAFLD, including:
• High cholesterol
• High levels of triglycerides
• Metabolic syndrome
• Polycystic ovary syndrome
• Sleep apnea
• Type 2 diabetes
• Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
• Underactive pituitary gland (hypopituitarism)
COMPLICATIONS of NAFLD:
The main complication of NAFLD is cirrhosis, which is late-stage scarring in the liver. As the liver tries to halt inflammation, it produces areas of scarring (fibrosis) because of which fibrosis spreads to take up more and more liver tissue. If the process isn’t interrupted, cirrhosis can lead to:
• Fluid build-up in the abdomen (ascites)
• Swelling of veins in your oesophagus (oesophageal varices), which can rupture and bleed
• Confusion and slurred speech
• Liver cancer
• Liver failure
PREVENTION of NAFLD:
To reduce your risk of NAFLD:
• Choose a healthy diet. Consume a healthy plant-based diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
• Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, reduce the number of calories you eat each day and get more exercise. If you have a healthy weight, work to maintain it by choosing a healthy diet and exercising.
• Exercise. Exercise most days of the week. Get an OK from your doctor first if you haven’t been exercising regularly.