Hard facts on fats

With World Liver Day on April 19, Satkam Divya suggests we watch how we treat our liver

health

Extra fat in the body is a cause for concern but if it is a case of fatty liver, it spells doom. Fatty liver mainly refers to the degeneration taking place in the liver due to a variety of factors, the most common being alcohol. In fact, the classification of the disease is broadly alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Alcohol causes a spectrum of hepatic issues, ranging from transient alcoholic fatty liver to alcoholic hepatitis to liver failure, culminating in the dire need of transplantation for survival.

The alcoholic variety

Alcoholic fatty liver is a mild and transient insult to the liver cells. Since it is an initial stage in the series of insults by alcohol, it is reversible by the cessation of drinking and living a healthier and nutritionally more wholesome life. In this, due to hepatic cellular damage, the liver enzymes are elevated, which basically translates into a deranged liver function test. Since it is not such a major degree of damage, the rise in liver enzymes is short-lived and mild. Also, fortunately, there is no hepatomegaly, which means that the size of the liver does not increase. Our liver, being the most amazing organ, can fight damages and in due course of time, is able to recover once you take away the noxious agent, alcohol. In fact, it has an excellent prognosis. The pathological changes in the liver will go away, and your liver will be as good as new. All you need is a solid will for abstinence from alcohol. In fact, the steatosis goes away as soon as three months into abstinence. Something that could have cost you a liver transplant can be avoided by leaving alcohol alone!

The teetotaler type of fatty liver

Unfortunately, alcohol is not the only toxin lurking in the body, waiting to attack it. Our sedentary lifestyle has ensured that our liver has a tough time even when our alcohol consumption is well beyond the safe limit, or even nil. The fact that a majority of us are couch potatoes is such a bane to our lives. The epidemic of obesity and rising cholesterol levels in our populations is making us all very susceptible to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In reality, all the processing of fats is done by the liver. Once it is overwhelmed, it basically is damaged by the cholesterol and the triglycerides. It comes in a package of obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus. It is a package you do not want to be delivered to your body, and hence, the only way to get rid of this is to control all the negative factors that govern the increase of fats in your body.

 

What we can do

Alcohol intake must be decreased and soon eliminated from the system. Abstinence is the only cure for people suffering from alcoholic fatty liver disease. Your liver will be absolutely grateful for this simple act of kindness if you spare it the additional toxic alcohol insults. Moreover, the liver needs time to regenerate itself. You have to give it time to heal.

Nutrition is another extremely essential factor. Alcohol depletes some of our vitamins, and we need to replenish the store by taking in a healthy, balanced diet, which includes a lot of leafy vegetables, very less fat and needless to say, devoid of alcohol.

Exercise: If I were to tell you the answer to all the different kinds of problems with the body would culminate in a single word, exercise. We undermine the importance of the non-pharmacological treatment of liver diseases, which is a good amount of physical workout. It decreases your cholesterol, burns fat, and increases your metabolism, which works wonders for the body.

Weight reduction does wonders for the body in fatty liver.

Drugs are the last resort, as everybody knows. We treat our damaged liver with the help of medicines.

The most important use of the knowledge of any disease is how we can avoid it best, and if the disease has already set in, how we can treat it and minimise the complications arising out of such a disease. Hence, we have to do all we can to make a difference in our liver’s life, and hence our own.

(The author is CEO, KlinicApp)

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