What is NAFLD?
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a condition where your liver stores too much fat. Sometimes, it's found unexpectedly during a medical examination, like an abdominal ultrasound.
Why Does NAFLD Matter?
High levels of fat in the liver can harm it, which might lead to health problems. The good news is early detection and action can help. If left untreated, the disease can progress to cirrhosis which would lead to severe liver damage.
It can take years for cirrhosis to develop. It's important to make lifestyle changes to prevent the condition getting worse.
How is NAFLD Discovered?
Often, you won't feel any different. You might only know you have it if your doctor spots it on an ultrasound or other tests for different reasons.
Liver function blood tests.
NAFLD can have an impact on liver function which can be measured through blood tests. In NAFLD, these blood tests may be elevated and a marker of inflammation. Having NAFLD with normal or stable liver function tests (LFTs) means that while you may have excess fat accumulating in your liver, your liver function blood tests are within the normal range. This can be a positive sign, as it suggests that your liver is currently not experiencing significant inflammation or damage despite the presence of fatty liver.
What Can You Do?
- Eating Healthy: Choose foods low in unhealthy fats and sugars, and eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Losing Weight: Shedding excess pounds and kilograms can reduce fat in your liver. •
- Exercise: Being active, like brisk walking, jogging, or swimming, helps improve liver health.
- Manage Other Conditions: If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, keep them under control.
We might want to check your liver regularly to see how it's doing. This may include ultrasounds, blood tests, or other exams. NAFLD is not caused by alcohol, but drinking may make it worse. It's therefore advisable to cut down or stop drinking alcohol.
At present, there is no specific medication available to treat or cure NAFLD, but some medications can help in addressing the related issues.
For example, we might advise prescribing medications to manage conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
What to do next?
If you’ve been told you have NAFLD then please follow the above advice. If you have any concerns or queries, then please contact the surgery.
Remember, finding NAFLD early gives you a chance to make positive changes and safeguard your liver.