Fatty Liver disease: Diets, women and fatty liver disease

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Liver Care

Diets, women and fatty liver disease

When excess fat deposits in your liver, it is considered a fatty liver disease. Women with fatty liver disease have a higher risk for heart disease, chest pains, and lower life expectancy.

Very often, we find ourselves binge eating processed foods followed by going through unhealthy crash diets, depriving the body of what it needs, just to achieve that perfect body image quickly. This causes many issues in our body such as PCOD (polycystic ovary disease: many fluid-filled sacs form in ovaries due to hormonal imbalance) and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol content in the blood), which is commonly observed in a large number of young women. PCOD drastically increases your risk of developing the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) later on in life. As age progresses, the prevalence of NAFLD increases by the time we reach the postmenopausal age, and this risk is further increased as a result of an unhealthy diet from earlier on in life.

Complications due to fatty liver disease lead to scarring of the liver tissue (cirrhosis), liver cancer, and liver failure. It can be easily prevented by maintaining a healthy diet, regulating your weight by designing diets based on nutritional needs, and not just aiming at crash dieting and exercising regularly. Crash diets and imbalanced diets that give you quick results often lead to lowering metabolic rates which in turn cause fat deposition in various parts of your body, not only leading to rapid weight gain but also deterioration in your liver health.

So, what is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and why should you care about it?

NAFLD is a condition where fats accumulate in the liver. In the past few decades, the prevalence of NAFLD has increased astronomically, especially in adolescents and young adults, which is caused due to an unhealthy diet and lack of physical exercise. Teenagers as young as 15-year old’s can be affected by NAFLD. Around 7.4% of men are affected by NAFLD but the percentage rises to 7.9 in women under the age of 30. Every 1 out of 3 obese adolescents has fatty liver disease.

NAFLD is the second most common type of liver disease. Very often it has no symptoms in the initial stages. Symptoms like jaundice, abdominal pain, fluid in the abdomen appear in the late stages when considerable liver damage is already done and is irreversible. One might ask, does NAFLD have any treatments? One of the most important things is to consult a liver specialist. The initial treatment can be aimed at reducing the fat deposition and inflammation to stop further damage, but this is only a temporary solution. The end result is always a liver transplant, which is neither easy on your body nor on your pockets.

All that being said, it isn’t something to fret over and be afraid of. It is relatively easily avoidable and you can help your own body to become healthier and stay that way by following a healthy, nutrient-rich diet and maintaining some basal level of activity in the form of daily walks, playing a sport or two with your friends, choosing stairs instead of the elevator every now and then, or simply taking the bi-cycle instead every now and then. It’s a few simple steps that can help your body for a long way.

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Dr. Ninad Deshmukh