Some amount of fat on the liver is healthy. Less than 5% of the total weight of the liver should be fat. When the fat content goes beyond 10%, a condition called fatty liver occurs. Too much fat in the liver starts an immune response to damage the liver, causing inflammation, which heals through scarring (fibrosis), and eventually progresses to end-stage liver disease known as cirrhosis.
To know more about the risk factors and prevention of the disease, the OnlyMyHealth editorial team talked to Dr Peeyush Kumar, Associate Consultant, Gastroenterology and Hepatobiliary Sciences, Fortis Escorts, Okhla Road, New Delhi.
What Causes Fatty Liver?
There are two types of fatty liver diseases. Alcoholic fatty liver disease (associated with heavy alcohol consumption) and Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (not associated with heavy alcohol consumption).
This article discusses non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The exact reason behind NAFLD is not fully understood. However, insulin resistance is the key factor in the development of this condition. This happens when the body does not properly react to insulin. This results in the difficulty of the body to control blood sugar and metabolism. NAFLD's overall prevalence in the general population is close to 40% in India.
Risk Factors of Fatty Liver
NAFLD is more common in people who:
- Have obesity and extra weight, especially with a lot of belly fat.
- Have diabetes mellitus or insulin resistance.
- Have any metabolic syndrome such as a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
- Have abnormally high lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) in the blood.
Preventive Measures of Fatty Liver
A healthy lifestyle can support liver wellness. So to get relief from this disease, lifestyle modifications are necessary.
Reduction in body weight with the help of exercises and diet is recommended. This is in addition to controlling other risk factors like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and abnormal lipid profile.
If a person is obese and has fatty liver, losing seven to 10% of body weight over a period of six months to one year can help prevent disease progression and reverse the damage.
Also read: 5 Best Foods To Help Fatty Liver Reversal
Perform regular aerobic exercises. You can do these exercises for 45 to 60 minutes five days a week.
A healthy diet is another important factor that helps in preventing the disease. You should avoid simple sugars such as table sugar or fructose syrups.
Fried and oily foods must also be avoided. You can include fish and dry fruits in your diet. Regularly eat green leafy vegetables as they contain vitamins and antioxidants. In addition to these, you should also lower your alcohol consumption.
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