Fatty Liver Disease is Becoming Increasingly Common

For an evaluation by experts who can identify your risk factors for fatty liver disease and create a program designed to prot

Your liver is about the size of a football and lies in the upper right area of your abdomen. Its job is to filter toxins from your blood, break down the foods you eat into nutrients your body can use, and perform a variety of other functions that are critical to good health.

The liver also has the unique ability to regenerate itself when conditions are right. It’s also susceptible to serious disease when diet, lifestyle, and certain medical conditions create a high-fat content within the liver, which interferes with its ability to function normally.

Nonalcoholic versus alcoholic fatty liver disease

There are two main types of fatty liver disease. One is due to fat buildup in the liver that’s caused by consuming large amounts of alcohol. “Large amounts” equal drinking more than one drink per day on average if you’re female and more than two drinks a day for men.

The second type of fatty liver disease, which is becoming increasingly common in the United States, is linked to obesity and medical conditions such as Type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance. Individuals with metabolic syndrome are also at a higher risk of developing fatty liver disease. Metabolic syndrome occurs when someone develops a combination of concerning issues, including excess body weight, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and high triglyceride levels.

Long-term effects of fatty liver disease

Cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver is a potentially life-threatening complication of fatty liver disease. This occurs as fatty tissue builds up and the liver attempts to heal itself, leaving behind the scarring known as cirrhosis. As scar tissue builds, liver function becomes impaired.

Other complications of fatty liver disease and resulting cirrhosis include:

Most cases of cirrhosis are caused by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which affects an estimated 80-100 million people in the United States.

Preventing the consequences of fatty liver disease

Because fatty liver disease has few symptoms until the condition has advanced, it’s important to be aware of and control your risk factors for developing the disease. You can do this by:

All these efforts can positively impact your overall health as well as your liver. Diet, exercise, and weight loss, for instance, can help bring your blood sugar under control, reduce elevated blood pressure, and bring cholesterol levels back into range. And it doesn’t take much for your body to respond to your efforts. Losing just 5-10% of your total body weight can make a significant difference in your health.

For an evaluation by experts who can identify your risk factors for fatty liver disease and create a program designed to protect your liver from further harm, schedule a visit at GastroMed at one of our Miami locations. Call the office that’s most convenient for you or book a visit online.

 

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