Nonalcoholic fatty disease is a medical condition that occurs when fat is collecting in the liver of people that drink low amounts of alcohol or do not drink at all. It is very often condition and usually doesn’t show any symptoms or leads to complications. However, in some cases the accumulated fat can lead to inflammation or scarred liver what is a more serious condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. The most severe case of nonalcoholic fatty disease can progress into liver failure.
Normally, there are no visible symptoms of nonalcoholic fatty disease. However, if there are symptoms, they can be: pain in the upper right part of the abdomen, exhaustion and loss of weight. It is advisable to visit the doctor if any of these symptoms that worry the person are present.
Nonalcoholic fatty disease happens when fat is accumulating in the liver tissue because the liver had problems to break down the fats. The exact cause is not known, as there are a lot of different medical conditions that can be associated with the nonalcoholic fatty disease, so it is really hard to point out one cause.
Different types of nonalcoholic fatty disease exist as the disease can be harmless or progress into a deadly medical condition. The different types are:
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver-very common, but harmless medical condition. The simplest form of this disease causes fat to accumulate in the liver, but never leads to complications. It is normal fat to build up in the liver not necessarily hurting the person.
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis-small number of cases of nonalcoholic fatty disease can lead to liver inflammation that prevents the normal function of the liver and causes scarring or cirrhosis.
- Nonalcoholic fatty disease-associated cirrhosis-is a liver inflammation that causes the liver tissue to become scarred that over time can become so severe that the liver cannot function properly, so a liver failure happens.
There are a lot of medical conditions that can augment the risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty disease. Some of them are:
- High cholesterol
- Too much triglycerides in the blood
- Sleep apnea
- Diabetes (type 2)
- Metabolic syndrome
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
There is no regular treatment for nonalcoholic disease, so the approach is usually treating the conditions that can increase the risk. For example, if a person is obese, the doctors will suggest proper diet, exercises or other ways that will help the person lose weight. Also, doctors may recommend vaccinations against hepatitis A and B that will protect the person from viruses that can lead to liver damage.
Some self-measures, that can prevent or control nonalcoholic fatty disease, are:
- Losing weight-certain exercise plan and good diet plan which will help a person to lose weight, stay healthy and lower the risk of further complications
- Going on a diet-healthy diet that will help the condition to improve
- Eating healthy-a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- Exercising-almost every day which will help a person to stay active and healthy and to lose weight
- Being active-for at least 30 minutes per day
- Lowering cholesterol-if a person has high cholesterol he/she should pay attention of the food intake and use medications that help in lowering cholesterol
- Controlling diabetes-if a person has diabetes it is good to control it in order to prevent further progression
- Not drinking alcohol-do not drink alcohol at all or drink moderately in order to protect the liver
These self-measures can also help in reducing the risk factors that can increase the signs and possible progression of the nonalcoholic fatty disease.