Understanding the Liver

NAFLD


Every day, your liver helps your body by providing it with energy, fighting off infections and toxins, blood clotting, regulating hormones and much, much more. To give you an idea of the liver’s critical roles, here is a partial list of its functions:

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the build up of extra fat in liver cells that is not caused by alcohol. It is normal for the liver to contain some fat. However, if more than 5% – 10% percent of the liver’s weight is fat, then it is called a fatty liver (steatosis).
NAFLD tends to develop in people who are overweight or obese or have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides. Rapid weight loss and poor eating habits also may lead to NAFLD.


SYMPTOMS

NAFLD often has no symptoms. When symptoms occur, they may include fatigue, weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, spider-like blood vessels, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), itching, fluid build up and swelling of the legs (edema) and abdomen (ascites), and mental confusion.


DIAGNOSIS

NAFLD is initially suspected if blood tests show high levels of liver enzymes. However, other liver diseases are first ruled out through additional tests. Often, an ultrasound is used to confirm the NAFLD diagnosis.


TREATMENT

• Eat healthy diet
• Exercise regularly
• Lose weight, if you are overweight or obese
• Lower your cholesterol and triglycerides
• Control your diabetes
• Avoid alcohol



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