Not all liver disease is caused by alcohol consumption in the same way not all lung cancers are caused by smoking. It is possible to develop a condition known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, for short. NAFLD is an umbrella term for a range of conditions caused by a build-up of fat in the liver. The NHS says: “It’s usually seen in people who are overweight or obese”.
NAFLD can be difficult to treat in its early stages as there are few symptoms.
However, later on patients can develop a dull or aching pain in the top right of their abdomen.
Extreme tiredness, unexplained weight loss, and weakness can also occur.
Not all of these symptoms mean a person has NAFLD, but it doesn’t mean their cause shouldn’t be investigated.
If NAFLD is allowed to develop without treatment cirrhosis of the liver can occur and alongside it more severe symptoms including jaundice, itchy skin, swelling of the legs, ankles, feet and oedema.
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NAFLD currently has no cure, the main treatment is through healthy lifestyle choices.
Treatment may be prescribed in order to treat conditions associated with NAFLD such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol.
If the condition reaches a point where liver cirrhosis has occurred, a patient may be put forward for a partial liver transplant.
The liver has the ability to regenerate and so both the remaining and new section of the liver can regrow to a normal size.
At its core, NAFLD can be avoided by sticking to basic lifestyle practices including eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, minimizing alcohol consumption, and not smoking.
Exercising has a number of benefits both physical and psychological.
It can improve fitness and improve mental health through releasing endorphins to improve a person’s mood.
For more information about liver disease contact the NHS or consult with your GP.