Tips To Keep Your Liver Healthy
If you have liver disease or youre at risk for liver disease because of a family history or underlying medical condition, its essential to make and keep regular appointments with your liver doctor or primary care doctor and take your medications as directed, says Lindenmeyer.
Other tips to keep your liver healthy include:
- Limit your alcohol consumption. Follow the recommendations for alcohol consumption, which are different for men and women, says Lindenmeyer. For men, drink no more than two alcoholic drinks per day and for women, no more than one, she says.
- Maintain a normal weight. Keeping your body weight in a healthy range can reduce your risk of developing fatty liver disease. Adopt an exercise regimen that includes cardiovascular and strength training, says Lindenmeyer. Not only will this help with weight management and other chronic conditions, theres even some research that suggests aerobic exercise could help protect the liver by preventing liver inflammation.
- Improve your diet. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to be beneficial for patients with fatty liver disease, says Lindenmeyer. Drinking coffee has been linked to benefits for people with fatty liver disease as well, she adds.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What complications can I expect?
- What changes should I make to my diet?
- What exercises are good for me?
- Are there any medicines I should take?
- Will I have any liver damage?
- How quickly should I lose weight?
- What is causing my nonalcoholic fatty liver disease?
- Should I stop drinking alcohol?
- Are there any medicines I should avoid taking?
Leg And Abdominal Swelling
Researchers have discovered several different types of fatty liver disease, and not all of them present the same way. This means individuals won’t see leg and abdominal swelling with every type of fatty liver disease. However, swelling in the abdomen and legs is often present when there’s cirrhosis, which occurs when the liver becomes severely scarred as a result of chronic liver disease. Every injury to the liver causes the liver to attempt to repair itself, resulting in scar tissue. The more scar tissue that forms, the more difficult it is for the liver to function.
If patients develop advanced cirrhosis, their liver may fail, which is life-threatening unless they’re able to get a liver transplant. When swelling occurs in the ankles, feet, or legs, it’s called edema. It is called ascites when fluid accumulates inside the abdomen. Patients might also experience itchy skin, nausea, fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding, yellow discoloration of your eyes and skin, and spiderlike blood vessels in the skin. Redness on the palms also sometimes occurs.
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How Is Fatty Liver Treated And Is It Reversible
Currently, no medications have been approved to treat fatty liver disease. More research is needed to develop and test medications to treat this condition.
In many cases, lifestyle changes can help reverse most stages of fatty liver disease. For example, your doctor might advise you to:
- limit or avoid alcohol
- take steps to lose weight
- make changes to your diet
- avoid medications and supplements that are hard on your liver
If you have AFLD, your doctor will instruct you to completely abstain from alcohol. They may also recommend a detoxification program and counseling if you have alcohol use disorder .
Several viral infections can also damage the liver. To protect your liver health, your doctor may advise you to receive vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Depending on your situation, they may also recommend regular screenings for hepatitis C.
Cirrhosis can also cause a variety of complications, including:
- portal hypertension, which is when blood pressure in the portal vein of the liver is too high
- an increased risk of infections
- liver cancer
If youve developed complications from cirrhosis, your doctor might recommend additional treatments, such as medications or surgery.
Cirrhosis can also lead to liver failure. If you develop liver failure, you might need a liver transplant.
Lifestyle changes are the first-line treatment for fatty liver disease. Depending on your current condition and lifestyle habits, it might help to:
Your Eyes Turn Yellow
Yellow eyes are a sign your liver isnt doing very well and is probably the most specific sign of liver disease, says KV Narayanan Menon, MD, medical director of liver transplantation at Cleveland Clinic. A yellow colored substance called bilirubin is usually broken down by the liver so it can be removed from the body, but when the liver is struggling it can cause bilirubin to build up, leading to yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin known as jaundice. Jaundice can be caused by a number of health issues, including a viral infection, a blocked bile duct , a reaction to a toxic drug or medicine, liver disease, or conditions that cause an excessive breakdown of red blood cells.
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Stomach Bloating Can Be A Sign Of An Enlarged Liver Know The Reason And Diagnosis
An enlarged liver or a liver inflammation is a serious health condition. Leaving it, untreated can cause severe distress to the body. If diagnosed on time, its treatment is possible.
If your doctor tells you that you need to keep a check on your drinking or eating habits, that means you need to be careful about your liver health. Liver enlargement or inflammation in the liver is a grave health condition, which can even lead to deaths in the worst cases. Hepatitis is usually another reason behind this, although this condition can be treated, but only if the diagnosis is done on time. Liver problems mainly crop up due to several lifestyle-related factors including excessive drinking, lack of exercise and a disturbed diet pattern.
This medical condition should be treated on priority as the liver helps in the regulation of food in the body. It also cleanses your blood by getting rid of harmful chemicals produced in your body. It makes a liquid called bile, which helps you break down fat from food. Also, it stores glucose in the body, which is a sort of fuel for the body to function. In cases of late treatment, there can be chances of liver transplants, which involves a longer recovery process. Liver transplant cases can be every bit harrowing for the individual to follow a set pattern of lifestyle to reduce the risk of re-damaging the new liver.
How Is Fatty Liver Disease Treated
Theres no medication specifically for fatty liver disease. Instead, doctors focus on helping you control factors that contribute to the condition. They also recommend making lifestyle changes that can significantly improve your health. Treatment includes:
- Avoiding alcohol.
- Losing weight.
- Taking medications to control diabetes, cholesterol and triglycerides .
- Taking vitamin E and thiazolidinediones in specific instances .
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Being Aware Of The Risk Factors
What Is The Livers Function
Your liver is an essential organ with multiple life-supporting functions. The liver:
- Produces bile, which helps with digestion.
- Makes proteins for the body.
- Stores iron.
- Converts nutrients into energy.
- Creates substances that help your blood clot .
- Helps you resist infections by making immune factors and removing bacteria and toxins from your blood.
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Symptoms Of Enlarged Liver Or Hepatomegaly
Symptoms of an enlarged liver usually appear in the later stages. When it becomes severe, there is discomfort in the stomach, and constant bloating. Some of its symptoms are as follows:
- Yellow skin and eyes
The reasons for your enlarged liver can be the following:
- Drinking problem
- Autoimmune diseases
- Metabolic syndrome
- Genetic disorders that makeup fats, proteins or other substances.
How you treat your enlarged liver depends on what is causing it. For example, if drinking too much alcohol is the source of the problem, you will have to quit to avoid further harm. Talk to your doctor for advice to stop drinking. If you have an underlying disease, medication or other forms of treatment may help.
Can Fatty Liver Disease Make It Harder For Me To Lose Weight
Fatty liver disease should not make it harder for you to lose weight. However, you will have to follow a strict eating and exercise plan in order to lose weight. The doctors at Johns Hopkins may need to treat your fatty liver disease with a combination of medications in order to achieve adequate glucose control and normal cholesterol levels.
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Why Is Fatty Liver Disease Bad
In most cases, fatty liver disease doesnt cause any serious problems or prevent your liver from functioning normally. But for 7% to 30% of people with the condition, fatty liver disease gets worse over time. It progresses through three stages:
Cirrhosis of the liver
Cirrhosis of the liver is a result of severe damage to the liver. The hard scar tissue that replaces healthy liver tissue slows down the livers functioning. Eventually, it can block liver function entirely. Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.
Upper Right Abdominal Pain
Patients in both the early and late stages of fatty liver disease typically notice upper right abdominal pain. The liver is located in this area, and the pain often begins as a dull ache that comes and goes. Some patients have described it as a sensation of fullness, and the pain may also radiate to the center of the abdomen. In the later stages of fatty liver disease, the pain becomes more severe, and patients might notice a loss of appetite or vomiting.
To assess upper right abdominal pain, doctors will normally begin with a physical examination of the entire abdomen. First, they will listen to the abdomen with a stethoscope to detect bowel sounds, and they might then tap over certain areas. This can be useful in estimating the size of the liver itself. Next, the doctor will press deeply in all quadrants of the abdomen to check for masses, pain, or swelling. Since upper right abdominal pain could indicate several serious conditions, imaging studies are often used to assist in the diagnostic process.
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What Is The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that is similar to the cuisine of countries along the Mediterranean Sea. There is no single definition of the diet, but you will eat mostly plant based foods. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown the Mediterranean diet to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death related to heart problems by 30%. The diet can be used as a long term diet pattern to promote health, control blood sugar and prevent chronic disease.
How Long Does It Take To Reverse A Fatty Liver
Healthcare providers recommend losing at least 3% to 5% of your body weight to begin to see results in your liver. They also recommend that you aim to lose no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. Rapid weight loss can make NAFLD worse. Take your time with a conservative diet and exercise program. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day.
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Alcoholism & Big Stomachs
Alcoholism destroys the liver by replacing normal liver tissue with fibrotic tissue, which can’t perform normal liver functions. When enough of the liver turns fibrotic, the liver can no longer carry out its extensive duties, which include producing enzymes and proteins and removing toxins and waste. The alcoholic often develops a large stomach when the liver loses much of its ability to function.
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Prevention And Reversal Of Fatty Liver Disease
There are no medical or surgical treatments for fatty liver, but some steps may help prevent or reverse some of the damage.In general, if you have fatty liver, and in particular if you have NASH, you should:
- lose weight safely. This usually means losing no more than half to one kilogram a week
- lower your triglycerides through diet, medication or both
- avoid alcohol
- control your diabetes, if you have it
- eat a balanced, healthy diet
- increase your physical activity
What Are The Symptoms Of Fatty Liver
Fatty liver can progress through four stages:
Both AFLD and NAFLD present similarly. However, in many cases, fatty liver causes no noticeable symptoms. But you may feel tired, or experience discomfort or pain in the upper right side of your abdomen.
Some people with fatty liver disease develop complications, including liver scarring. Liver scarring is known as liver fibrosis. If you develop severe liver fibrosis, its known as cirrhosis, a potentially life threatening condition that can cause liver failure.
The liver damage due to cirrhosis is permanent. Thats why its so important to prevent it from developing in the first place.
Cirrhosis may cause symptoms such as:
There are two main types of fatty liver disease: nonalcoholic and alcoholic.
Fatty liver can also happen during pregnancy, although this is uncommon.
Who Does Nafld Affect
Experts don’t fully understand why some people get it and others don’t. But you’re more likely to if you’re overweight or obese have diabetes, high cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, or hepatitis C and other liver infections or take certain medications, including steroids or drugs for cancer or heart problems. Most people with this type of fatty liver are middle-aged. But the disease can happen to anyone, even kids.
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Limit Gas Forming Foods
Beans and lentils have a reputation for causing gas, and if you dont eat them regularly they can be particularly problematic. Eating small quantities frequently enables your digestive system to adapt. However, some people can never digest these foods well no matter what they do. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower can be problematic also, so try not to eat too many foods from this family at the one time, and particularly not if you hope to slip into a tight dress in the evening.
Artificial sweeteners can cause bloating and so can some natural sugar alternatives. It is essential to avoid the artificial sweeteners aspartame, acesulfame K and sucralose because they can cause health problems far worse than bloating. Some natural sugar alternatives can cause bloating if consumed in large quantities they include xylitol, erythritol and mannitol.
What Are The Causes Of Fatty Liver Disease
In fatty liver disease, excess fat is stored in liver cells, where it accumulates. A variety of factors can cause this fat buildup.
Drinking too much alcohol can cause AFLD. Heavy alcohol use can alter certain metabolic processes in the liver. Some of these metabolic products can combine with fatty acids, leading to the formation of types of fat that can accumulate in the liver.
In people who dont drink a lot of alcohol, the cause of fatty liver disease is less clear. For these people, its possible their body produces too much fat or doesnt metabolize fat efficiently enough.
One or more of the following factors may play a role in people who dont consume much alcohol and develop fatty liver disease:
Remember that having risk factors means youre at an increased risk of fatty liver disease compared with people who dont have risk factors. It does not mean youll certainly develop it in the future.
If you have one or more risk factors for fatty liver disease, talk with your doctor about prevention strategies.
To diagnose fatty liver, your doctor will take your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and order one or more tests.
If your doctor suspects that you might have fatty liver, they will likely ask you questions about:
Let you doctor know if youve been experiencing fatigue, loss of appetite, or other unexplained symptoms.
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