Gobble, gobble, Happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays to you all. ‘Tis the season of overindulgence with the end effect of becoming an overfed slugabed or layabout.
Fellow travelers, are you one of the millions sitting at your desk or walking around with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and are not even aware of it? Overdoing food and alcohol during this holiday season could make the condition worse leading straight to a heart disease and/or liver failure.
“Data has shown that nearly 30 million Americans have NAFLD. Many times it is missed until the person’s liver enzyme levels are high,” said Dr. Howard Monsour, chief of hepatology at Houston Methodist Hospital. “Patients can die from a heart attack or cirrhosis of the liver. It’s a serious condition that we have to get under control quickly in this country.” (Kovacik, 2015)
The nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is an accumulation of fat deposits inside the liver cells. Alcohol, drugs, obesity, lipid disorders and diabetes can all contribute to this disease. Moreover, many individuals with this condition suffer from Metabolic Syndrome, a group of factors, which include a large waist size (men greater than 40 inches, women greater than 35 inches), high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, and insulin resistance that heighten the risk of heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Over a period, an individual could experience fatigue, weakness, and loss of appetite. Some individuals may develop pain in the center or right upper part of the belly. The symptoms might get worse after heavy drinking.
“However, much like type 2 diabetes, NAFLD can be cured with proper diet and exercise,” Monsour said. “If you lose 12 percent of your current weight, no matter how much you weigh, you can eliminate fat from your liver.” (Kovacik, 2015)
Dr. Monsour continues by saying that hearty exercise: as weight lifting, swimming, running or aerobics, between 75 and 150 minutes a week with a high rate of 120 or above during the holiday season and beyond will help with this problem. He also suggests that eating fruits and vegetables as a snack before attending a family function or holiday party will help you feel full and just might keep you away from foods high in fat.
It should be noted that between five and 20% of people with fatty liver would develop serious liver disease. Whether or not one develops cirrhosis, fibrosis or liver cancer depends on whether the person has inflammation in the liver caused by the fat resulting in an inflammatory response called steatohepatitis. Many times but not always, this causes an increase in liver enzymes on routine blood tests.
“The key is to catch it early and man times it may not be discovered until a routine checkup,” Monsour said. “If you start to experience symptoms, see a doctor as soon as you can. Letting it go without evaluation can lead to a very difficult, unhealthy life.”
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Kovacik, G. (2015, November 16). People Unaware of Fatty Liver Disease Could Make the Problem Worse with Holiday Overindulgence. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from HUSTON Methodist LEADING MEDICINE: http://www.newswise.com/articles/people-unaware-of-fatty-liver-disease-could-make-the-problem-worse-with-holiday-overindulgence
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