If you are like most people, you have probably never heard of NAFLD/NASH. However, this silent disease is actually quite common. It is a progressive condition that develops over time. There are no known causes or cures for NASH, but there are simple ways to prevent this disease from developing and also treat it when it does arise.
NAFLD/NASH is a liver disease that is caused by the build-up of fat in the liver. This fat can lead to inflammation and, eventually, liver damage. The good news is that NAFLD/NASH often does not have any symptoms. However, this also means that it can be quite dangerous. If you think you may be at risk for NAFLD/NASH, it is important to go for a NASH liver test.
Here, we will explain everything you need to know about NAFLD/NASH – including what causes this silent disease and how you can prevent it.
What is NAFLD/NASH?
A form of liver illness known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects people who drink very little or no alcohol. The accumulation of fat in the liver is the primary cause of NAFLD, which primarily affects obese persons. If it is not addressed, NAFLD can cause liver cirrhosis, liver damage, and liver failure. Additionally, other health issues like diabetes, heart disease, renal failure, and more are linked to this liver illness.
At first, there aren’t any symptoms of NAFLD. However, as the disease progresses, some of the symptoms you might experience include the following:
- A dull abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Itchy skin
- Swollen legs and ankles.
NAFLD progresses over four stages and leads to cirrhosis. The second stage is NASH or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, which occurs in 2-5% of the adult population. NASH occurs when the liver becomes enlarged, inflamed, and damaged due to excess amounts of fat. More severe liver disorders, including cirrhosis and fibrosis, can develop as a result of NASH. Sometimes a liver transplant may be required as treatment.
Managing NAFLD and NASH
Simple fatty liver is one instance when the disease won’t get worse or need urgent therapy. When this occurs, maintaining a well-balanced diet and an exercise routine is adequate to get rid of the extra fat in your liver.
There isn’t a drug on the market right now that can cure NAFLD. The liver condition can worsen in NAFLD’s later stages to the point where a liver transplant is required. Only when the liver completely quits functioning will this happen.
A liver transplant is generally a last-resort treatment option and should only be considered when life expectancy has been reduced to a few months or less. Suppose you are diagnosed with NAFLD or NASH. In that case, you may be eligible for consideration for a liver transplant if your condition significantly impacts your quality of life.
However, it is important to note that this procedure is very complex and requires extensive preparation before surgery can take place. For example, you will need to undergo extensive evaluations, including blood tests and imaging studies such as CT scans and ultrasounds, and biopsy samples must also be obtained before surgery can proceed.
Once these preparations have been completed successfully, there’s still one more hurdle: finding a donor who matches their exact blood type, so they don’t reject their new liver after they’ve donated theirs.
If you are diagnosed with NAFLD or NASH, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about treatment options. Treatment may include weight loss and lifestyle changes. This can include eating a healthier diet and increasing physical activity levels. In addition, you might need to go on medications such as insulin sensitizers and cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.
There are many ways to prevent and treat this disease:
1. Follow a Healthy and Balanced Diet
This will involve avoiding processed foods and refined sugars, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Instead, eat whole grains like oatmeal or brown rice instead of white rice or pasta. Try eating more vegetables and fruits. They’re loaded with nutrients that help keep your body healthy!
Exercising regularly reduces stress which helps keep blood vessels healthy by reducing inflammation levels in the body’s arteries. It also helps prevent weight gain because it improves insulin sensitivity so you don’t store excess fat around your waistline area, where it can cause inflammation and damage over time.
In addition to regular physical activity, consider avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol. Too much alcohol can lead to liver damage, making it harder for your liver cells to function properly.
Everything You Need to Know about Liver Disease
NAFLD and NASH are liver diseases that should not be taken lightly. It is important to get tested if you think you may be at risk for NAFLD or NASH. The best way to prevent NAFLD/NASH is to make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle – including eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and talking to your doctor about any medications you are taking.