The liver filters blood flowing from the gastrointestinal tract before supplying it to other parts of your body – and it also cleanses the blood and helps in bile secretion. But when excess fat accumulates in the liver, it disrupts these essential functions of the liver and leads to fatty liver disease.
What is fatty liver?
Fatty liver results from an excess build-up of fat in the liver cells. Having a small amount of fat in the cells is normal, but you may develop fatty liver if your liver contains more than 5% of fat. The condition is reversible in its early stage. However, it may progress to an advanced stage of liver disease if ignored.
There are two types of fatty liver disease – Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.
What are the causes?
Several factors, such as the following may contribute to or cause fatty liver disease –
- Excess fat around the belly
- Insulin resistance
- Consumption of sugary beverages and refined carbohydrates
- Poor gut health
- Excessive drinking
- High blood sugar
Symptoms to watch out for:
The signs and symptoms of fatty liver disease are –
- Weakness and fatigue
- Mild pain in the centre or right portion of the abdomen
- High insulin and triglyceride levels
- Increased level of liver enzymes
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting and nausea
- Moderate to severe abdominal pain
- Yellowing of skin and eyes (Jaundice-like symptoms)
- Itchy skin
- Redness on the palms
- Abdominal swelling/bloating
How to cure fatty liver?
Fatty liver cannot be cured with medications alone. The best way to cure or reduce fatty liver is to adopt healthy lifestyle changes.
- Maintain a healthy body weight – Obesity and belly fat is a major risk for fatty liver disease. So keep your weight in check.
- Workout more often – Exercising regularly not only helps in weight loss but also keeps you fit and healthy.
- Eat healthy – The more fatty foods you eat, the greater are your chances of developing fatty liver. Avoid consumption of foods that are high in fat, for example – oily fast food, red meat, and processed food. Instead, turn to a healthy and balanced diet comprising of lean protein, leafy greens, and fruits, healthy nuts and whole grains.
- Avoid alcohol consumption and quit smoking, as it contributes to the development of Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.
Liver problems can be debilitating. If not treated in time, they can lead to various complications, such as cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, and so on. Therefore, be cautious and prudent, and keep an eye out for the symptoms to seek immediate help.