Alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) refers to liver damage caused by drinking too much alcohol. The number of people with this condition has increased over the past few decades, and it can be difficult to recognize the signs at first. The NHS warns that drinking large amounts of alcohol, even for just a few days, can lead to a build-up of fat in the liver.
A healthy liver should contain little or no fat, and fatty liver disease is more common in overweight people.
Indeed, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease tends to develop in people who are overweight or obese or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides.
The Liver Foundation of America states that if more than 5 to 10 percent of the liver’s weight is fat, it’s called fatty liver. Some people develop fatty liver disease without any pre-existing conditions.
The organization says that NAFLD is often asymptomatic. When symptoms do occur, they can include fatigue, weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, spider veins, and yellowing of the skin and eyes, the organization says.
READ MORE: B12 deficiency symptoms: ‘Unexplained’ sign on your feet could be ‘red flag’
Having high levels of fat in your liver has also been linked to an increased risk of other health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.
If detected and treated at an early stage, NAFLD can prevent the condition from getting worse and the amount of fat in your liver can be reduced.
Most people will only develop the first stage, very often, without realizing it. In rare cases, it can progress and lead to liver damage if not detected and treated.
“Early stage NAFLD usually doesn’t cause any harm, but it can lead to serious liver damage, including cirrhosis, if it gets worse,” says the NHS website.
DO NOT MISS:
If you develop severe cirrhosis, stage 4 fatty liver disease and your liver stops working properly, you may have to be put on a waiting list for a liver transplant.
For adults, the average wait time for a liver transplant is 135 days for transplants.
People are more likely to develop NAFLD due to a number of factors. For example, if you are insulin resistant, as everyone can get with polycystic ovary syndrome.
There isn’t currently any medication that can treat NAFLD, but different medications can be helpful in managing problems associated with the condition.
Doctors tend to focus on helping you control the factors that contribute to your condition.
The NHS also recommends lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve your health.
Things like losing weight, eating healthy, and exercising regularly can help. NAFLD is not caused by alcohol, but drinking can make it worse. As a result, you may need to cut it out of your diet or reduce your intake.
If your NAFLD is diet related, your doctor will likely treat it by giving you advice on how to live a healthier lifestyle.
During the early stages of NAFLD, your doctor may focus on managing any other conditions you have that may be related to the disease.
The British Liver Trust said: “NAFLD is not a very specific name as it defines the disease as fatty liver caused by anything other than alcohol.
“So some people want to change the name we give to fatty liver caused by overweight, which accounts for most cases of NAFLD.
“An alternative is metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD). This has been suggested by a number of academics and clinicians and you may hear it being used. “
Source: | This article first appeared on Express.co.uk