Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs when fat is deposited in the liver, without other causes of fatty liver identified. If you or your family member has ever had an ultrasound of abdomen, there is a 50% chance that the report may mention the presence of Fatty Liver.
Incidence of NAFLD in India is 5.1% in normal weight people & 31.7% in overweight adults, which means that 1 in 3 overweight people in India, have Fatty Liver.
What is the risk, if someone has Fatty Liver?
- Liver may develop NASH (Inflammation of Liver cells)
- 20– 30% cases may develop Cirrhosis (Scaring of Liver tissue)
- Cirrhosis may lead to Liver failure which may require Liver transplant.
- Occasionally it may lead to Liver Cancer (HCC)
Who is at risk?
- Apple type Obesity
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Women with PCOD/ PCOS
- Sleep Apnea
- Genetic / Hereditary
How is NAFLD diagnosed?
- Up to 76% have no symptoms
- Fatigue in 50 to 70%
- Right side Abdominal Pain
- Fatty Liver is usually diagnosed on USG, CT or MRI
- Your doctor may order some more blood test – LFT, Viral markers etc
- Your doctor may order a “Fibroscan” or very rarely a Liver Biopsy.
- A Fibroscan tells you the amount of liver fat & the severity of liver scarring (if present)
How is NAFLD Treated?
- Weight Loss: 5 to 7% of weight
- Low carbohydrate diet
- Exercise – 150 min/week of Cardio &/or 45 minutes/week of resistance training, 3 days per week
- Avoid Alcohol & drugs that may harm the liver
- In addition there are some medicines & some supplements which can help. Your family physician can prescribe you the same, if required.