Think back to the first time you were told, “You have a fatty liver.”
Did you even know what that meant? Surely, you know you have a liver but what does it really do for you? Why is it important? And what can you do to take control of your own health?
For a long time, the preconceived notion what that liver diseases were largely alcohol related. While chronic alcohol abuse does account for a number of cases, there is a growing population of individuals being diagnosed with fatty liver, NASH, and NAFLD . . . all progressive liver diseases that in advanced cases require liver transplantation.
Once “fatty liver” is on your radar, of course you start wondering how your food and lifestyle behaviors which may have seemed innocent enough at the time, lead you down this path.
Your liver, is your body’s internal chemical power plant. It’s the largest organ in your body, tucked up under your ribs for protection. Your liver is responsible for a whole host of bodily processes that it conducts 24/7, without any prompting. It’s your silent partner in the background that gives you energy from foods you digest, produces clotting and immune factors, and clears your body of toxins that have made their way into your system.
When you have a lifestyle that consists largely of starches, fatty foods, and sugary drinks, the excess fats infiltrate liver cells causing them to be inflamed and swollen. In turn, they smother healthy cells causing further liver damage. Additionally, having fatty liver means you are also at risk for comorbidities including heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and strokes.
Listen to your body. Your liver is letting you know it needs your help.
Without a voice or mechanism to signal pain, it’s up to you to take a look at yourself and your food and lifestyle behaviors that are contributing to the problem.
Although treatments are being developed, there is no “magic pill”. Even if there were, your daily participation as part of the Team To Treat NASH is essential.
Be informed, be involved, and be committed to participate in your own healthcare. Better days coming.