Rapid technological advancement has made people’s lives faster and easier. Products are being delivered to the doorstep with just the click of a button. This has led to an increased adoption of a sedentary lifestyle. Many opt to order food, groceries, clothing, home appliances, and furniture from the comfort of their homes instead of stepping out. In addition, people’s food choices have changed, often opting for refined fast food items like breads, pizzas, and processed meat over traditional food. These fast foods, high in carbohydrates and cholesterol, are salty, fatty, and oily. These lifestyle choices can impact the body irreversibly, affecting multiple organs without showing too many telltale signs soon enough. In an interaction with OnlyMyHealth editorial team, Dr Vinay Dhir, Chairman Of Institute Of Digestive & Liver Care (IDL Care), SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim-A Fortis Associate, explained more.
Irreversible Liver Damage
Often, overlooked aspects of diet and inappropriate lifestyle choices impact the liver, sometimes leading to irreversible liver damage or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD).
While unhealthy lifestyle is the primary cause of chronic liver disease, they can also be seen in apparently healthy individuals. The incidence of this disease has grown exponentially worldwide in the past two decades. The severity of this disease can vary as one might have fatty deposition in the liver cells. The patient might have to face inflammation of the liver (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis – NASH) or have an excess accumulation of fibrosis on the liver (liver fibrosis). The patient may develop irreversible liver cirrhosis or hepatocellular cancer in severe cases.
Also read: Foods To Add To Your Diet For A Healthy Liver
NAFLD has rapidly become the most common reason to undergo liver transplantation worldwide. The high accumulation of fat in the liver is usually seen in people who are overweight or obese. Also, those suffering from NAFLD have higher chances of co-existing high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease. Patients with diabetes and those on certain drugs are predisposed to developing NAFLD even though they are not obese.
Symptoms Of NAFLD
Symptoms of NAFLD may appear later in the course. One should look out for signs of liver disease — fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weakness, excessive weight loss or weight gain, discomfort etc. A simple ultrasonography of the liver can easily diagnose the disease, but sophisticated tests like MRI and fibroscan are needed for exact quantification.
Is There Any Treatment Available?
If the signs are overlooked and medical intervention is not sought on time, it might lead to liver failure. A significant component of the treatment offered for this disease is lifestyle changes and weight reduction. Certain medicines are also available for treatment in the early stages. But once it reaches the irreversible stage, liver transplantation is the only option.
Also read: Incorporate These Liver-Friendly Habits For A Healthy Liver
NAFLD is a preventable disease and can easily be cured if diagnosed before it has caused irreversible liver damage. Hence, it is essential to opt for healthy lifestyle choices, including protein and fibre-rich food and regular exercises (both physical and mental) for the overall well-being of the body and mind. Undergoing preventive health checks will also help doctors pick up.
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