One in four adults worldwide has a liver condition not connected to drinking, which increases the risk of heart diseases. But how far are the people aware of this condition? Is this missed in routine medical checkups? The American Heart Association says that the Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is most of the time missed in regular checkups, which increases the risk.
The Association notes that the condition could lead to permanent liver damage as well as increase the risk of heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in people with fatty liver disease As such treating it early is much important. The Association mentioned this in its scientific statement published in its peer-reviewed journal Arteriosclerosis. Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology:
WHAT IS NAFLD?
NAFLD occurs when excessive amounts of fat are deposited in the liver. This sometimes leads to inflammation and scarring (called non-alcoholic Seatonepaitis, or NASH). NAFLD may go undiagnosed for years and as such the Association emphasizes the need for awareness and monitoring for the condition, access to improved screening tools and treatment.
WHY NAFLD GETS UNDIAGNOSED?
NAFLD normally show no symptoms during the initial stages. Moreover, routine blood tests may not detect liver abnormalities. Elevated liver enzymes in blood, which could be a sign of NAFLD, is often mistaken as a side effect of medication or to recent alcohol consumption,
The Association suggested that a specialized ultrasound that measures liver elasticity, fat and stiffness in the liver could detect NAFLD.
POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS OF NAFLD
Fatigue and pain or discomfort in the upper right abdomen.
When having NASH and advanced scarring (cirrhosis), one may experience:
Abdominal swelling, Enlarged blood vessels just beneath the skin’s surface, Enlarged spleen, Red palms, Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
CAN NAFLD BE PREVENTED?
Yes, it is preventable by maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly, eating a heart-healthy diet and managing conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and elevated triglycerides in the blood. However, some people may be genetically prone to developing NAFLD and whether it leads to NASH) cirrhosis or liver cancer.
TREATMENT FOR NAFLD
Lifestyle changes, healthy eating, regular exercise and avoiding alcohol, are the cornerstone of treatment for early NAFLD. A Mediterranean-style diet is often recommended for the treatment of NAFLD and NASH. Reduce fat intake, limit consumption of simple sugars and choose more fibber-rich vegetables and whole grains, the association stated.
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