Non-al­co­holic fatty liver dis­ease is on the in­crease in the UAE – and left unchecked it can shorten your life ex­pectancy. Liz Jarvis has dis­cov­ered how you can re­duce your risk by mak­ing sim­ple life­style changes

Friday - - FRONT PAGE -

How healthy is your liver?

It’s prob­a­bly not some­thing you’ve con­sid­ered very much. Yet the preva­lence of non-al­co­holic fatty liver dis­ease, NAFLD, has more than dou­bled in the past 20 years world­wide. In fact, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion sug­gests that up to 30 per cent of people in the UAE may be af­fected.

Pa­tients usu­ally ex­pe­ri­ence no symp­toms to be­gin with, apart from tired­ness or dis­com­fort, and it is of­ten picked up only when they’re re­ferred for other tests.

NAFLD is caused by the build-up of fat within the liver cells, and can lead to a range of se­ri­ous health prob­lems such as stroke, heart at­tack or cir­rho­sis (per­ma­nent dam­age to the liver), which leads to liver fail­ure. There is cur­rently no med­i­cal treat­ment for NAFLD, with ex­perts putting the em­pha­sis on preven­tion over cure.

“You are more likely to de­velop NAFLD if you are over­weight or obese, have high blood pres­sure or suf­fer from mal­nu­tri­tion,” says Lily Mueller, nu­tri­tion coach, Dubai Herbal and Treat­ment Cen­tre. “NAFLD is caused by an in­flamed liver, so im­prove­ments in daily diet and mod­er­ate ex­er­cise are cru­cial in pre­vent­ing it.”

Fol­low our diet to im­prove your health and live longer...

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