Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

What is NAFLD or Fatty Liver?

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which fat deposit in liver (commonly known as Fatty liver). Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a sub-type of NAFLD which include inflammation and liver cell damage, along with fat in liver. NASH may can lead to cirrhosis or chronic liver disease.

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What are symptoms and causes?

Usually, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) do not have any symptoms. Certain health conditions and behavior—including obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and intake of high fat/carbohydrate containing food—has more chances to develop NAFLD and NASH.

How to diagnose?

Medical history, physical examination, and certain tests help to diagnose nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Tests may include blood tests, imaging tests (e.g. Ultrasonography, MRI), and sometimes liver biopsy.

How to treat?

Weight loss, Change in dietary habits and exercise are proven life style intervention to treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Weight loss can reduce fat in the liver, inflammation, and fibrosis.

Diet Recommendations:

Reduce or restrict intake of food having high fat or carbohydrates (with High glycemic index) to prevent or treat NAFLD or NASH.

Fats are usually high in calories and increase chance weight gain leading to obesity. Replacing saturated fats and trans fats in your diet with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, is beneficial in NAFLD. Few examples of various types of fat are:

  • Saturated fats, found in meat, butter and all milk and dairy products except fat-free milk products.
  • Trans fats, found in snack foods, commercially baked cookies and cakes, and all type of fried foods.
  • Monounsaturated fats, found in olive, peanut oils.
  • Polyunsaturated fats, found in greatest amounts in corn, soybean, and safflower oils, and many types of nuts.
  • Take more Food with low-glycemic index —such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid foods with high-glycemic index foods, such as white bread, white rice, and potatoes.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that contain large amounts of simple sugars like soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, and juices.
  • Avoid heavy alcohol use, which can damage liver. For men, experts define heavy alcohol use as more than 4 drinks per day or more than 14 drinks per week. For women, heavy alcohol use is more than 3 drinks per day or more than 7 drinks per week.
Medicines for NAFLD:

There are medicines which can be used as per doctor’s recommendation but none of them are superior than weight loss or dietary changes.

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