5 Reasons Why You Should Be Aware Of Your Risk To Get NAFLD
As you read this article, you might be coming across NAFLD, or Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, for the first time. NAFLD is the umbrella term that describes a range of liver-related diseases that affects individuals who consume little to no alcohol. It is the direct opposite of Fatty Liver Disease, which is often a result of high consumption of alcohol. However, both share the same attributes in which excess fat is stored in our liver.
NAFLD symptoms and risk factors
The problem with NAFLD is that it strikes the individual without any prior warning or symptoms. Hence, often, by the time the individual finds out about it, it might result in a more difficult situation. The exact cause of NAFLD is hard to pinpoint. The disease can be found in individuals of all ages.
However, it is more prevalent in individuals around the age of 40 and 50, who coincidentally are also at an increased risk of developing heart disease due to risk factors such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
NAFLD is linked to several metabolic syndromes, such as:
- Poor ability to absorb insulin
- High blood levels of triglycerides
- Increased abdominal fat
- High blood pressure
NAFLD might also be detected through specific symptoms, such as:
- Enlarged liver
- Upper right abdominal pain
Why should you be aware of your risk of getting NAFLD?
The five reasons why you should be serious about your NAFLD risks are:
1. NAFLD can lead to liver cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is the permanent scarring of the liver, which over an extended period, can result in liver dysfunction. Fatty liver disease can easily be managed, but when it becomes cirrhosis, it is a whole different game. When that happens, it is often too late.
2. NAFLD can lead to liver cancer
About a quarter of the time, even if the individual does not have liver cirrhosis, NAFLD can develop into Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis, or NASH, which leads to liver cancer.
3. NAFLD leads to an increased risk of developing heart disease
Many patients with heart disease often also have NAFLD. In fact, cardiovascular disease is often the leading cause of death in individuals with NAFLD. NAFLD may be associated with metabolic syndrome, which is the build-up of plaque in the blood vessels, which is the common cause of heart attack and stroke. Hence, a gastroenterology visit for concern of NAFLD will also include a cardiovascular disease risk assessment.
4. Individuals with diabetes may develop NAFLD
This link is bidirectional, which means an individual with diabetes may develop NAFLD just as easily as an individual with NAFLD may develop diabetes.
5. NAFLD is associated with chronic kidney disease
While this association may not be as strong as the ones before, the risk of developing chronic kidney disease when suffering from NAFLD is still significant.
How to reduce your risk of NAFLD?
- Have a healthy and diverse diet that is rich in vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, and fruits
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Go for regular screenings, such as liver and blood enzyme, as well as function tests
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease symptoms may not always present themselves early, and even if they do, they might not be as apparent as specific diseases. Hence, it is always recommended to maintain a healthy lifestyle which includes regular screenings. Not only does regular screening detect early NAFLD, but it also can detect colon cancer symptoms and IBS symptoms, which leads to early colon cancer treatment. Contact us to make an appointment today!