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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease Also called: NAFLD

The accumulation of liver fat in people who drink little or no alcohol.
Very common
More than 10 million cases per year (India)
Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging always required
Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
The cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is unknown. Risk factors include obesity, gastric bypass surgery, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
Most people have no symptoms. In rare cases, people may experience fatigue, pain or weight loss. Over time, inflammation and scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) can occur.
No standard treatment exists. Instead, doctors will treat the underlying condition, such as obesity.
Requires a medical diagnosis
Most people have no symptoms. In rare cases, people may experience fatigue, pain or weight loss. Over time, inflammation and scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) can occur.
Can have no symptoms, but people may experience:
Common symptoms: fatigue
Treatment consists of self care
No standard treatment exists. Instead, doctors will treat the underlying condition, such as obesity.
Aerobic activity for 20–30 minutes 5 days a week improves cardiovascular health. If injured, pursuing an activity that avoids the injured muscle group or joint can help maintain physical function while recovering.
Can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of complications related to obesity.
A diet that limits grains, starchy vegetables and fruit and emphasises foods high in protein and fat.
Reducing intake of high-fat foods such as dairy, oil and red meat to improve cardiovascular health.
Controls the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
Helps promote normal body function, growth and development.
Works alone or in conjunction with other treatments to promote health.
Focuses on liver, gallbladder and biliary tree disorders.
Focuses on the digestive system and its disorders.
Specialises in food and diet.
Prevents, diagnoses and treats diseases.
Treats metabolic and hormone disorders.
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Liver disease

Any condition that damages the liver and prevents it from functioning well.
Most common types
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

    The accumulation of liver fat in people who drink little or no alcohol.
  • Hepatitis C

    An infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation.
  • Hepatitis B

    A serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus that’s easily preventable by a vaccine.
  • Cirrhosis of the liver

    Chronic liver damage from a variety of causes leading to scarring and liver failure.
  • Alcoholic hepatitis

    Liver inflammation caused by drinking too much alcohol.
  • Hepatitis A

    A highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus.
  • Hemochromatosis

    An inherited condition caused by excessive absorption of iron, leading to high blood iron levels and iron deposits in multiple joints.
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13 Ways to a Healthy Liver

The best way to fight liver disease is to avoid it, if at all possible. Here are 13 ways to achieve liver wellness. Appropriately, that’s one useful tip for each year of the new century!

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re obese or even somewhat overweight, you’re in danger of having a fatty liver that can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), one of the fastest growing forms of liver disease. Weight loss can play an important part in helping to reduce liver fat.
  2. Eat a balanced diet. Avoid high calorie-meals, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, white rice and regular pasta) and sugars. Don’t eat raw or undercooked shellfish. For a well-adjusted diet, eat fiber, which you can obtain from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, rice and cereals. Also eat meat (but limit the amount of red meat), dairy (low-fat milk and small amounts of cheese) and fats (the “good” fats that are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish). Hydration is essential, so drink a lot of water.
  3. Exercise regularly. When you exercise consistently, it helps to burn triglycerides for fuel and can also reduce liver fat.
  4. Avoid toxins. Toxins can injure liver cells. Limit direct contact with toxins from cleaning and aerosol products, insecticides, chemicals, and additives. When you do use aerosols, make sure the room is ventilated, and wear a mask. Don’t smoke.
  5. Use alcohol responsibly. Alcoholic beverages can create many health problems. They can damage or destroy liver cells and scar your liver. Talk to your doctor about what amount of alcohol is right for you. You may be advised to drink alcohol only in moderation or to quit completely.
  6. Avoid the use of illicit drugs. In 2012, nearly 24 million Americans aged 12 or older were current illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview. This estimate represents 9.2 percent of the population aged 12 or older. Illicit drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics (pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) used non-medically.
  7. Avoid contaminated needles. Of course, dirty needles aren’t only associated with intravenous drug use. You ought to follow up with a medical practitioner and seek testing following any type of skin penetration involving sharp instruments or needles. Unsafe injection practices, though rare, may occur in a hospital setting, and would need immediate follow-up. Also, use only clean needles for tattoos and body piercings.
  8. Get medical care if you’re exposed to blood. If for any reason you come into contact with someone else’s blood, immediately follow up with your doctor. If you’re very concerned, go to your nearest hospital’s emergency room.
  9. Don’t share personal hygiene items. For example, razors, toothbrushes and nail clippers can carry microscopic levels of blood or other body fluids that may be contaminated.
  10. Practice safe sex. Unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners increases your risk of hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
  11. Wash your hands. Use soap and warm water immediately after using the bathroom, when you have changed a diaper, and before preparing or eating food.
  12. Follow directions on all medications. When medicines are taken incorrectly by taking too much, the wrong type or by mixing medicines, your liver can be harmed. Never mix alcohol with other drugs and medications even if they’re not taken at the same time. Tell your doctor about any over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and natural or herbal remedies that you use.
  13. Get vaccinated. There are vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Unfortunately, there’s no vaccine against the hepatitis C virus.

[Source for #6: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-46, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4795. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013, p. 1.]