Look after your liver
Watching your weight, eating well and taking regular exercise can help prevent this disease
To avoid complications
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a close cousin of type 2 diabetes. If you have one of these conditions, you won’t automatically have the other, but you’re at higher risk. NAFLD also runs in families.
With NAFLD, fat builds up in the liver to unhealthy levels. Over time, as the liver swells with fat, scars develop and liver function declines. NAFLD is different from fatty liver, which occurs from drinking too much alcohol.
Risk factors for NAFLD overlap those for type 2 diabetes. Both are more likely if you’re overweight and have excess belly fat, insulin resistance, unhealthy triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure. NAFLD may start before diabetes.
Signs and symptoms
NAFLD can be a silent disease. Symptoms might include discomfort in the upper right side of your abdomen, fatigue and indigestion. A blood test showing elevated liver enzymes might be due to NAFLD. Imaging tests are also used to help diagnose it. People with diabetes aren’t automatically screened for NAFLD, but some experts think they should be as NAFLD tends to progress more rapidly in them. A liver biopsy may be used to determine that.
To prevent or manage NAFLD, follow a healthy eating plan, control your weight and exercise most days of the week, including cardio and strength training. If you’re overweight, gradually losing 5-10 per cent of your weight can improve fatty liver.