Fatty liver disease: What is stage 1 of the disease and how can you reverse it?
Liver disease: NHS Doctor talks about link with alcohol
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Fatty liver disease occurs when excess fat gets accumulated in the liver because the body is unable to metabolise it properly. It can happen in people who consume excess alcohol, called Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AFLD) and even in those who don’t, called Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
It used to be thought that progression from early stage NAFLD to cirrhosis took decades, but recent studies have shown that some people progress rapidly within two years.
The condition is synonymous with liver scarring.
Over time, that can scar your liver and keep it from doing its job. Fatty liver usually causes no symptoms.
However, it can make you tired or give you a constant dull pain either in the right upper part of your belly, or all over it.
The first stage is referred to as simple fatty liver or steatosis.
This occurs when the liver cells start to build-up fat, although there is no inflammation or scarring at this stage.
There are often no symptoms in this early stage, so many people are unaware they have a fatty liver.
“People find it surprising to know that they may not experience any symptoms of liver damage until it progresses to a stage where it cannot be reversed,” said Doctor Mayank Uppal, Consultant, Internal Medicine at Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research.
Grade 1 fatty liver occurs in the early stages where the fat is deposited outside the liver and does not interfere with its functioning.
People with grade I fatty liver exhibit no symptoms and usually learn about it either through routine ultrasounds or health check-ups for other conditions.
“Since grade 1 fatty liver is a mild form of the condition, we recommend patients begin exercising and monitor their diet, abstain from alcohol and reduce the consumption of fatty foods,” added Doctor Mayank.
“Grade 1 fatty liver disease signals the onset of liver disease, which can be treated provided you follow a disciplined lifestyle,” said Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science Research.
The health site added: “You should eat a high fibre diet which includes green vegetables, whole fruits (rather than drinking just the juice as it does not contain fibre) and incorporate salads in your daily diet.
“Replace all refined foods and white carbohydrates such as refined flour, white rice, white bread with other sources of carbohydrates such as multigrain/whole wheat flour, brown rice, legumes and nuts.”
French fries and burgers are a poor choice to keep your liver healthy.
Eat too many foods that are high in saturated fat and it can make it harder for your liver to do its job.
Over time it may lead to inflammation, which in turn could cause scarring of the liver that’s known as cirrhosis.
According to WebMD, other fatty liver foods to avoid include:
- Poultry, except for lean white meat
- Full-fat cheese
- Yogurt, except low-fat
- Red meat
- Baked goods and fried foods made with palm or coconut oils
- Sugary items like candy, regular soda, and other foods with added sugars including high-fructose corn syrup.
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