One of the largest organs in our body, the liver performs several essential metabolic functions. It processes nutrients, fats as well as toxic substances. It then filters, stores, detoxifies and passes these elements into the blood or bowel depending on whether they have to be used or excreted.
So, what is fatty liver?
When there is too much fat produced in the body, or when the liver is not able to metabolize fat effectively, excess fat gets accumulated in the liver cells. Having a small amount of fat in the liver is normal, but if the amount increases and builds up, then it leads to an unhealthy condition called Fatty Liver disease.
What causes Fatty Liver disease?
Typically, drinking too much alcohol can lead to alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD). Since the liver can heal itself, cutting down on alcohol intake helps reverse this condition.
However, studies also link fatty liver with other conditions like obesity and high blood sugar. This condition is termed as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Research suggests that NAFLD is strongly connected with metabolic syndrome – a lifestyle disease that ups the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
For NAFLD, the suggested treatment includes lifestyle changes like:
- Eating low-calorie, low-fat food
- Losing weight
- Avoiding alcohol
- Exercising for 30 minutes daily
If fatty liver is left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening complications like liver cirrhosis and failure. Hence it is crucial to diagnose and treat it in time. Following a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise is the need of the hour to prevent severe liver damage. And also asking your physician about periodic full-body checkups and tests that will help detect such problems and live a longer, healthier life.