Look af­ter your liver

Watch­ing your weight, eat­ing well and tak­ing reg­u­lar ex­er­cise can help pre­vent this dis­ease

Diabetic Living - - CONTENTS -

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.

What’s in­volved?

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.

Treat­ment

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.

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