Have you been told you have fatty liver or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)? If so, what does one do about it? First let’s define NAFLD. It is a condition in which excess fat builds up in the liver. This is not caused by alcohol use. About 25% of the worldwide population is affected by this condition. It is especially common in the western developed countries. About 10% of children between the ages of 2-19 are affected with NAFLD. There usually are no symptoms of NAFLD unless it has progressed to non-alcoholic steatophepatitis (NASH). This happens when the liver is inflamed can causes right upper abdominal pain and swelling. In most cases, NAFLD has no symptoms and is normally detected by routine blood tests.
Risk Factors of NAFLD
Overweight /Obesity (especially concentrated adiposity around the abdomen area)
Type 2 Diabetes, Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance
Metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol)
High blood pressure
Elevated cholesterol– especially elevated triglycerides
Diets that are high in fructose– commonly used to sweeten food and drinks.
certain medications such as corticosteroids
Diagnosis of NAFLD
blood tests to check liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase)
imaging (ultrasound, CT scan, MRI scan)
Prevention of NAFLD
Weight loss– Decreasing weight by 5% can reduce the fat in the liver. A 10% weight loss can reduce liver inflammation.
Healthy diet– Avoid foods and drinks that contain sugar, fructose, glucose or sucrose (they are normally found in soft drinks, sports drinks, juices and sweetened teas)
Exercise– General recommendations include 150 min of weekly accumulated moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, accompanied by strength and endurance training at least two to three times weekly