What Is Fatty Liver Disease? How Is It Treated?
In cases where fatty liver disease is caused be excessive alcohol consumption, the disease will resolve on its own within six weeks if the drinking stops. If the drinking continues, the condition may develop into cirrhosis.
Perhaps you’ve heard of this disease that affects many adults (around 25% of the population) and involves the accumulation of fat in liver cells.
If you don’t know what we are referring to, don’t hesitate to read this article in which we explain what fatty liver disease is and how it’s treated.
Fatty liver: more information
Fatty liver, also known as hepatic steatosis, is a problem associated with obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. Nearly 80% of patients with these diseases also have fatty liver.
Hepatic steatosis can also be caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol.
Fatty liver is diagnosed by conducting:
Determines the degree of severity of the disease and the amount of fat in the liver.
This method offers a definitive diagnosis and is used in those at a higher risk of suffering from liver disease.
In general, levels are 2 to 3 times higher than normal in a patient with this liver problem. The levels of glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides are elevated.
Two types of fatty liver
Patients can be divided into two groups:
Alcoholic fatty liver
The organ is unable to break down fats so they begin to accumulate.
The good news is that if a person discontinues alcohol use, within approximately 6 weeks the condition will diminish or completely disappear. If, however, the individual continues drinking or increases consumption the disease will worsen and may lead to cirrhosis.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver
As we mentioned before, the causes are diabetes type II, high cholesterol, taking certain medications and rapid weight loss diets.
Want to know more? Read: Do You Have a Fatty Liver?
What are the warning signs of a fatty liver?
In many cases, the patient won’t experience any symptoms. However, there are a few signs that may indicate you have a fatty liver:
- If you are a middle-aged woman and overweight.
- If you have diabetes or high cholesterol.
- If you have a family history of liver problems.
- If you have unhealthy eating habits.
- If you suffer from chronic fatigue or discomfort in the upper abdomen.
- If even with dietary changes, you cannot manage to reduce triglyceride levels.
How can I avoid a fatty liver?
These tips will help you avoid hepatic steatosis or reduce the symptoms:
- Reduce your intake of refined sugars and flours, animal fats and alcohol.
- Eat more vegetables, fruits, and dried fruits.
- Follow the Mediterranean diet, which is the healthiest diet out there.
- Do some physical activity 2 to 3 times a week.
- Don’t take medications like anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, estrogen or antifungals.
- Gradually reduce your body weight.
- Increase your intake of antioxidants.
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
Natural recipes to combat fatty liver
In addition to the above tips, the following home remedies are useful in treating hepatic steatosis:
This plant has many properties, that according to recent studies, reduce fat in the liver. It also improves liver function, increases hepatic regeneration and helps break down accumulated fats.
You can take milk thistle as a supplement (found in health food stores) or as a tea.
- 1 handful leaves and flowers of the plant
- 1 cup water
Boil the water with the handful of flowers and leaves and let brew for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 more minutes. Strain and drink.
You can sweeten the tea with a little honey if you find the flavor too bitter or unpleasant.
Because of its antioxidants and its ability to lower triglyceride levels, ginger is great for treating fatty liver disease.
Buy ginger root at the market and keep wrapped in paper and store in the refrigerator. Some people grate it over salads, soups, or cakes, for example. It can also be made into a tea.
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 teabag
Make tea as usual with the teabag, then throw in the ginger. Strain and drink while still hot.
This fruit is also another great way to treat fatty liver disease and prediabetes.
One of the most important compounds found in grapefruit is naringenin, which has the ability to activate the compounds responsible for oxidizing fatty acids.
It also reduces body fat and treats metabolic syndrome (two factors associated with hepatic steatosis).
Eat a grapefruit every morning on an empty stomach.
Don’t hesitate to add this vegetable to your weekly diet to improve the health of your liver. It’s low calorie, a perfect diuretic, and if that’s not enough, it helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
You can eat them (better if uncooked) in sauces, dressings, salads or soups.
Don’t forget to read: 10 Reasons to Eat Artichokes
This wild plant that grows almost anywhere possesses many medicinal properties. It’s one of the most powerful natural purifiers and cleanses the liver and improves hepatic health.
It’s found as a supplement in health food stores.
If you have a chance to plant dandelion, even if in a container, don’t hesitate. Use it to make a medicinal tea.
- 1 handful dandelion leaves and flowers
- 1 cup water
Boil the water with the dandelion for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Strain, sweeten and drink. You can drink dandelion tea up to three times a day.