Liver disease is a serious condition. And, while most people traditionally associate liver disease with the long-term abuse of alcohol, doctors are realizing that this isn't the sole culprit of damage to one's liver.
Obesity is also to blame for increased liver problems. As our diets worsen and our sedentary lifestyles increase, ailments that used to be caused by one harmful habit are being replaced by others. That's exactly what happens in a case of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NALFD.
The most recent estimates believe that between 20-30 percent of all adults and more than 10 percent of all children in the United States have a fatty liver not derived from drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, in already obese adults and children, rates are much higher, causing great concern among medical practitioners.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs when fat accumulates around people's liver who drink very little or no alcohol at all. The accumulation of fat in the liver affect the liver's ability to handle everyday tasks such as filtering your blood and breaking down red blood cells.
This eventually leads to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Although what exactly causes NASH to develop has yet to be discovered, there are a few hints out there.
Evidence suggests that this more serious form of non-alcoholic liver disease could come from inflammation, the death of liver tissues, an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive system, or from the proteins released by our bodies which are toxic to the liver.
Perhaps the worst part about the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is that it seems to arise with little to no symptoms. Since the fat that accumulates does so around the liver, oftentimes it can go unnoticed, especially in those who are overweight. With no symptoms, the patient isn't aware of any abnormal health issues.
Although medical professionals are beginning to understand, that there may be signals which point to the presence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, some of these signs are obviously connected to the abdominal area, such as abdominal pain and rapid weight loss. Others and completely separate signals include skin discoloration (a common sign of liver dysfunction), loss of appetite, dark urine, swelling in the ankles and legs, difficulty concentrating, etc.
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