Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver
All non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is not alike. If it’s in the beginning stages, it’s called non-alcoholic liver disease. At this stage, there are very few symptoms. Someone might have fatigue more than usual, weakness and weight loss but that’s about it. Many patients don’t have any symptoms at all. Yet if the condition progresses, it can be a silent killer.
Watch this video – What is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?
Steatohepatitis Means Inflammation
But when non-alcoholic fatty liver disease progresses to the next stage, it’s called steatohepatitis or NASH. It affects up to 5 percent of all Americans. In this stage, inflammation sets in. Inflammation causes congestion no matter where it occurs in the body.
When it’s in your liver, the inflammation is affecting a critical organ. Congestion in your major detoxification organ can only mean that your body can’t detoxify itself very well from prescription medications, chemicals and preservatives in foods, toxic metals and other toxins.
Symptoms also begin in steatohepatitis but they are similar to fatty liver disease where there’s fatigue, weight loss and weakness.
In steatohepatitis, the lab tests will show an elevated ALT level or alanine aminotransferase levels or even AST or aspartate aminotransferase levels. However, you could have elevated ALT or AST levels for a number of reasons, so a liver biopsy is really the determining diagnostic point for steatohepatitis.
Watch this video – Managing Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis
Cirrhosis is the Last Stage
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in the final stages is called cirrhosis. All cases might not progress to this stage but if they do, it may become fatal. In cirrhosis, the functional tissue of the liver is changed to scar tissue. Not all of the liver becomes affected, but as the cells become more and more affected, the symptoms worsen. The person’s belly swells so it looks like a large beach ball or like the person is pregnant.
There may be skin changes when the skin color changes to yellow along with the whites of the eyes, mental symptoms such as confusion and personality changes, and kidney damage. The spleen enlarges too. To diagnose cirrhosis, your doctor will decide to do a biopsy, which will show scarring in the cells. A liver transplant is almost always necessary at this point.
Causes of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has numerous causes. Like alcoholic fatty liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease may be reversed if caught in the early stages. Dietary changes and discontinuing all alcohol will be what it takes to start the fatty liver disease reversal.
Here are some of the causes of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD):
1 Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance. When someone has insulin resistance, then it’s easy to develop obesity. The obesity and insulin resistance together and by themselves will cause fatty liver disease.
The more fat you have in your body, the greater the accumulation of fat in your liver. This then causes fatty liver disease. Losing the weight helps eliminate the fatty liver.
3 Metabolic Syndrome
Insulin resistance is connected to fatty liver disease because of the high levels of blood fats. Many people with metabolic syndrome eat far too many carbohydrates, which raises triglycerides and causes them to deposit in the liver.
4 High Blood Pressure
In high blood pressure, there is increased pressure within the blood vessels of the body. When the affected blood vessels include the portal vein and portal artery, the liver is unable to perform all its functions. If large amounts of triglycerides and fats have already accumulated in the liver and fatty liver is present, high blood pressure will worsen fatty liver disease.
5 High Blood Fats
The higher the fats are in the blood, the greater the chance for them to be deposited not only in the belly, legs, buttocks and other places where fat will deposit, but also directly in the liver.
6 Genetic Disorders
Two genetic disorders, Abetaliproproteinemia and hypobetalipoproteinemia are linked with fatty liver disease. Abetaliproproteinemia is a disorder where fat absorption and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E, and K) is impaired.
Some of the symptoms seen in this disorder besides fatty liver disease include frothy stools, fat in the stool, and protruding abdomen. Hypobetalipoproteinemia is a genetic disorder that causes low levels of LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol and high levels of HDL-cholesterol.
When fatty liver occurs in pregnancy, it’s a very serious condition because it may be life-threatening. Usually the condition occurs in the third trimester or right after the baby is born. This condition is rare.
It’s not so much the malaria by itself that causes the fatty liver, but rather the medications. The synthetic quinine drug called chloroquine, aminoquinolone , medfloquine, and primaquine used to treat the malaria are also causes of fatty liver.
9 Nutritional Deficiencies
Many nutritional deficiencies cause fatty liver. Some of these deficiencies include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin C, omega-3 fats, vitamin E, and B vitamins (especially choline). You won’t know what vitamin deficiencies you have until you see a clinical nutritionist who can run some lab tests. The results of these tests could be life-changing and life-saving for you.
Tuberculosis is a lung disease that is still around now. It was more common in the middle of the 1900s but surprisingly, it still occurs. It’s not so much the tuberculosis (TB) but the TB drug called isoniazid that causes fatty liver disease.
Symptoms of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
When someone has Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, there aren’t any classic signs and symptoms simply because the disorder is a silent one. However, as the disease progresses, you may start to see many symptoms that affect the skin, brain and of course, the liver itself.
Fatigue is a symptom that could be seen in the beginning stage but this symptom is one of the ones that is never used as a clear-cut symptom for any disease. There are hundreds of diseases that have fatigue as part of a whole list of symptoms.
As fatty liver disease progresses and more fat accumulates in the liver, more and more symptoms will begin to surface. Below is a list of some of them plus why they occur:
Loss of appetite – The liver cells are dying daily and the liver is losing its effectiveness at converting foods into energy as well as breaking them down.
Dark-colored urine – This occurs because pigments are being excreted at higher numbers than usual. Since the pigments are darker than the yellow coloring, the urine becomes dark.
Light-colored stool – This occurs because pigments are not processed as well by the liver.
Skin darkens – The pigments that are in greater number have to go somewhere so they are routed to the next large detoxification organ – the skin. The skin turns yellow and is called jaundiced.
Bruising – The factors needed for clotting in the blood to occur are not created in high enough numbers anymore and the capillaries become very fragile.
Nosebleeds – Similarly, capillaries become very fragile without necessary clotting factors.
Fevers – Infections are more likely to occur, which are usually accompanied by a fever.
Overall poor health – The patient feels lousy, looks lousy, and starts to wonder if he will make it.
Swelling in the abdomen – The blood in the body is rerouted since the liver cannot handle the circulation. The veins aren’t working as they should and a pooling starts in the abdomen.
Lack of sex drive – Sex hormones are not made in normal amounts and start to decline.
In non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the patient must be proactive and stay on top of all the new habits that need to be initiated to reverse the disease before it progresses to the point of no return – kidney failure, coma and death.
Treatment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
There are several strategies that are used to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and facilitate the reversal of the condition. Below are 7 of them with an explanation of why they work:
Exercise will help you lose weight, especially if you participate in some of the most advanced gym workouts that never give you more than a 30-second rest. These types of workouts use body weight for resistance, and include exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups in various positions.
The instructor discusses how you can do the exercises while you are still doing the previous set! Some people love this type of workout because they end up burning 600 calories in a session! Weight loss happens easily with this method.
- Weight Loss Program
A weight loss program is essential if you are overweight or obese since it contributes to fatty liver. However, whichever one you select, you should make sure you can be committed to it. A failing diet means prolonged fatty liver – and your life could depend on the success of the diet.
- Avoiding Foods with Saturated Fats
Medical professionals tend to believe that saturated fat is the culprit in fatty liver disease; however, they haven’t kept up-to-date on the latest information. Saturated fat is stable in the diet and doesn’t create the free radicals that accelerate the fatty liver damage and accumulation of fat.
It’s the unsaturated fats that are the culprits – vegetable oils, hydrogenated fats, and fats heated to high temperatures. Saturated fat is only a problem if you eat too much of it and pack on pounds.
- Controlling Cholesterol Levels
Some sources say that controlling cholesterol levels should be done with statins while other sources say that statins cause fatty liver. Cholesterol levels may be high because of low copper levels, low or dysfunctional thyroid, or an overall poor diet. It’s best to attack the root cause instead of going after the symptom of high cholesterol.
- Diabetes Control
- Eating Low Glycemic Index Foods
Studies have shown that blood sugar levels are lowered significantly when a low glycemic index food diet is eaten. The term “low glycemic index” refers to carbohydrates. Grains are not low glycemic index, and neither are processed foods including macaroni, cakes, cookies, candy, high sugar fruits, potatoes, corn and sweet potatoes.
Of course, protein and healthy fats are still allowed on this type of diet to round it out to a good healthy diet. Good healthy diets always contain protein, fat and carbohydrates, the ratio of them is what makes the biggest difference.
- Avoiding Any and All Alcohol
Although someone with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease doesn’t have the condition due to their sporadic intake of alcohol, eliminating alcohol is required in order to reverse the condition. Even a small amount of alcohol is a bad amount to consume because the liver is unable to process it and instead will accumulate the triglycerides in the alcohol in the liver. This will worsen the condition.
This post is from the Fatty Liver Remedy Program. It is created by Layla Jeffrey who is a Nutritionist and an Expert on the subject of Fatty Liver. She was diagnosed with a “fatty liver”, or to be more precise, Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatisis (NASH). In this program, she will share how she has succeeded in reversing her fatty liver. This program offers T ime-tested, proven and all-natural ways to PREVENT & REVERSE the 3 main categories of Fatty Liver Disease: Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AFLD), Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatisis (NASH).
To find out more about this program, visit her website – Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Remedy