Reduce weight and unhealthy eating to prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Reduce weight and unhealthy eating to prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

Checking vitals such as blood pressure and blood glucose regularly

New Delhi, 8 November 2018: Breastfeeding for six months or more could lower the risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) years later during mid-life in women, according to recent research. While the benefits of breastfeeding in babies are known, this research highlights those for the mothers. Estimates indicate that globally tens of millions of people are living with NAFLD and NASH. Weight loss and a healthier diet are the current standards of care.

NAFLD is usually asymptomatic until advanced stages of liver disease and includes a spectrum of disease severity, with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) being the most aggressive type. Multiple genetic and environmental factors contribute to NAFLD, and certain health conditions, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, can be predisposing factors.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “NAFLD is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease globally. The prevalence of this condition in India is about 9% to 32%, with a higher incidence among obese and diabetic patients. As the name implies, the main characteristic of this condition is too much fat stored in liver cells. A healthy liver should contain little or no fat at all. The main complication of NAFLD is cirrhosis, which is late-stage scarring (fibrosis) in the liver. Cirrhosis occurs in response to liver injury, such as the inflammation in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.  As the liver tries to halt inflammation, it produces areas of scarring (fibrosis). With continued inflammation, fibrosis spreads to take up more and more liver tissue.”

Some signs and symptoms of this condition include enlarged liver, fatigue, pain in the upper right abdomen. When it progresses to cirrhosis, it can cause ascites, enlarged blood vessels and spleen, red palms, and jaundice.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “People with NAFLD have a greater chance of developing cardiovascular disease and it is one of the most common causes of death in them. About 10% weight loss can improve fatty liver and inflammation. There are reports to indicate that cinnamon (dalchini) can help improve lipid profiles and NAFLD due to its antioxidant and insulin-sensitizer properties.’

Some tips from HCFI

  • Eat a healthy plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
  • If you are overweight or obese, reduce the number of calories you eat each day and get more exercise. If you have a healthy weight, work to maintain it by choosing a healthy diet and exercising.
  • Exercise most days of the week. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.