Most people know that alcohol can cause liver disease but did you know that being overweight can too?
Most people don't talk about Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, but nearly 10-20% of Americans have it.
You might be surprised to learn that few are aware they suffer from it since it often occurs without any symptoms at all.
While it’s not exactly clear what causes it, it is more likely to happen to those who are overweight or obese, have high cholesterol and diabetes.
You probably already know that there are loads of consequences of being overweight, like
- increased odds of a stroke
- sleep apnea
- breathing problems
- high blood pressure
- a higher risk of heart disease
- sexual problems.
NAFLD is yet another consequence of being obese or overweight.
It’s the term that’s used to describe the accumulation of fat in the liver in those who drink little or no alcohol. It results due to the buildup of extra fat in liver cells that aren’t caused by alcohol.
While it is normal for the liver to contain some fat, if more than 5 – 10% of the organ’s weight is made up of fat, it’s known as NAFLD – and, it’s a serious condition.
Why? The fatty deposits which characterize NAFLD can keep the liver from functioning as it should, and removing toxins from the blood.
While people who drink too much alcohol can also have fat in their liver, it's not the same as this condition.
As mentioned, a fairly good portion of the population has it, but many have no idea because they don’t have any symptoms.
That’s a bit scary, as if NAFLD is allowed to develop over the long term, it can cause liver damage, or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
The resulting liver damage can lead to permanent scarring and hardening of the liver, which is known as cirrhosis – something you’ve probably heard of.
That can threaten your life, as diseases like liver cancer, and other serious problems like severe bleeding from varices, or enlarged veins in the upper stomach and esophagus can occur, as well as impaired mental function and a severe infection of the membrane lining of the abdomen known as spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.
Definitely not something anyone would want to endure!
If you develop NASH, you may feel fatigued, suffer from severe tiredness, yellowing of the eyes or skin, persistent itching and weakness.
Carrying too much weight, having diabetes or pre-diabetes, high triglycerides or high HDL cholesterol can all put you at risk for this condition.
With the skyrocketing rates of obesity, there has also been a steady increase of those who have NAFLD.
A healthy, well-functioning liver is essential to overall well-being, as your liver is the organ that’s primarily responsible for cleansing the body of toxins that enter.
A healthy liver is important for all of our other systems too – if they’re filled with toxins, they can’t function as they should.
Between the effects of all of the pollutants in the air we breathe, chemicals in household and personal products, synthetic ingredients and chemical preservatives in our food, so on and on, you can see how important our liver really is!
If fitting into that sexy new dress isn’t enough motivation for you to lose those stubborn pounds, perhaps the thought of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease will encourage you to shed them, allowing you to not only enjoy a longer life, but a happier, higher quality of life too.
Once again, the solution?
A healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet – consuming plenty of whole foods from the earth which support liver function, and avoiding processed foods, particularly those that contain trans fats and/or high fructose corn syrup – and regular exercise.
You may have heard it before, but you can never hear it enough – make your health a top priority.
Yours in Health,
P.S. Please share this important information with your friends and I welcome your comments below.