6 non-alcoholic fatty liver disease symptoms you should never ignore

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the term used for a range of conditions caused by having a build-up of fat in the liver.

A healthy liver should contain little to no fat, though the NHS estimates that around one in every three people in the UK has early stages of NAFLD, where there are small amounts of fat in the liver.

Early stages of NAFLD fortunately does not cause any major harm, however, if left to develop further it could lead to serious liver damage including cirrhosis.

Here are six symptoms warning of too much fat in your liver that you should never ignore.

Symptoms of fatty liver

Early indications warning of too much fat in your liver can include:

Abdominal pain or a feeling of fullness in the upper right side of the abdomen (belly)

Nausea, loss of appetite or weight loss

Yellowish skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

Swollen abdomen and legs (oedema)

Extreme tiredness or mental confusion

Weakness

What to do if you have these symptoms
The Mayo Clinic says you should make an appointment with your doctor if you have persistent signs and symptoms that cause you concern.

If you develop severe cirrhosis, stage four fatty liver disease, and your liver stops working properly, you may need to be put on the waiting list for a liver transplant.

Can NAFLD be treated?
There’s not currently any medicine that can treat NAFLD, but various medicines can be useful in managing the problems associated with the condition.

If detected and managed at an early stage, NAFLD can be stopped from getting worse and the amount of fat in your liver can be reduced.

According to the British Liver Trust, factors increasing your risk of NAFLD include:

A weight in the overweight or obese range
A high waist measurement
Type 2 diabetes
A diet with too many unhealthy foods and drinks
Low levels of physical activity or spending a lot of
Too much time sitting down
High cholesterol
High blood pressure
Other conditions linked to insulin resistance for example polycystic ovary syndrome
The main treatment for NAFLD is eating a well-balanced diet, being physically active and (if needed) losing weight.

Studies have found that a person can reduce liver fat and in some cases reverse NAFLD.

Experts have found that losing 10% of your current weight can dramatically decrease the amount of fat in the liver as well as reduce inflammation.

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