Fatty liver disease is a chronic condition that is diagnosed when excess fat gets accumulated in the liver, which usually happens due to unhealthy lifestyle and diet choices or excessive alcohol consumption. However, by adopting certain healthy habits one can control and even reverse the condition. Explaining the same in an Instagram video, Dr Vishakha Shivdasani said, “Fatty liver is a chronic lifestyle disease that affects a significant percentage of people. However, in most cases, it remains undetected as people are not tested for it”.
Speaking with indianexpress.com, Dr Bipin Vibhute, Liver and Multi-organ Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgeon, Sahyadri Hospitals, Pune said, “Alcohol usage and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are the two most frequent causes of fatty liver. Alcoholic fatty liver disease can result from excessive alcohol consumption (90% of those who regularly drink alcohol may develop fatty liver disease), whereas NAFLD is linked to conditions like obesity, sedentary lifestyles, poor diets (rich in refined carbs and saturated fats), and metabolic conditions, including insulin resistance and diabetes”.
You can either get sonography or a fibro scan done to detect if you have a fatty liver.
Dr Abdul Majeed Gastroenterologist Centre for Gastro Sciences Meitra Hospital, Kozhikode, shared some lifestyle changes that can help reverse fatty liver. They are:
1. Maintain a healthy weight: Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise. Losing weight, if overweight or obese, can reduce the accumulation of fat in the liver.
2. Follow a healthy diet: Emphasise a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats such as those found in nuts, avocados, and olive oil. Limit the intake of processed foods, sugary beverages, saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates.
3. Exercise regularly: Engage in regular physical activity such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or any other form of exercise that you enjoy. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, as recommended by health authorities.
4. Avoid alcohol consumption: Avoiding alcohol is crucial. It is indeed the best way to prevent liver damage from getting worse.
5. Stay hydrated: Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to support liver function and overall health.
6. Avoid unnecessary medications: Consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medications or supplements, as some can potentially harm the liver or interact with existing liver conditions.
Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to support liver function and overall health. (Pic source: Getty/Thinkstock)
When suffering from fatty liver, it is advisable to avoid or minimise certain things. Dr Majeed shared them as:
1. Alcohol: Completely avoid or significantly reduce alcohol consumption, as it can worsen the condition and lead to further liver damage.
2. Processed foods and added sugars: Limit the intake of processed foods, fast food, sugary snacks, and beverages, as they often contain high amounts of unhealthy fats, added sugars, and refined carbohydrates.
3. High-fat foods: Reduce the consumption of foods high in saturated and trans fats, such as fried foods, fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy products, and commercially baked goods.
4. Excessive salt intake: Limit your sodium intake, as excessive salt can contribute to fluid retention and increase the risk of liver complications.
5. Unprotected exposure to toxins: Minimise exposure to toxins and chemicals found in cleaning products, pesticides, and other environmental pollutants. Take necessary precautions to protect yourself from harmful substances.