Weight Loss Can Help Head Off Lasting Damage Caused By Fatty Liver
- By Irun Bhan, MD, Contributor
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common cause of liver disease in the United States, and is estimated to affect up to a quarter of adults in the world. It is defined by excess fat accumulating in the liver and usually occurs in people with obesity, high blood sugars , abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels, or high blood pressure. These disorders often run together and as a group are called metabolic syndrome. The non-alcoholic part of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is important to distinguish it from alcohol-related liver disease, which can also cause excess liver fat.
What About Physical Activity
Physical activity can improve appetite, decrease stress, lessen depression, and help you reach or maintain a healthy body weight. If you have been inactive for a long time, increase your activity slowly.
Participating in physical activity is safe for most people. If you have other medical conditions or injuries, check with your health care provider or a qualified exercise professional before becoming more active.
Obesity And Fatty Liver Disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is strongly associated with obesity. Excess fat causes insulin resistance and inflammatory signals. Insulin resistance means that the pancreas has to produce more insulin in order to maintain normal blood glucose levels, and is the first step towards developing diabetes.
Patients who have hypertension , have high cholesterol, are overweight or obese, and have diabetes or insulin resistance are at greater risk to develop fatty liver disease. Physicians and scientists do not fully understand why the excess fat causes these liver changes. They do know that by losing weight, liver enzymes may normalize and liver inflammation may improve.
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Your Liver And The Food You Eat
You need food to power your body, giving it energy and the material it needs to grow and repair itself. When you eat food, it is broken down in your stomach and intestine and three main nutrients are extracted:
These nutrients are then absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to your liver. Here they are either stored, or changed in such a way that your body can use them at once.
At the same time your liver is also working to detoxify substances which may harm your body such as alcohol, other drugs and some of your bodys waste products. If you have a liver problem, then your liver may not be able to do these jobs as efficiently as it should.
How A Liver Becomes Fatty
It is unclear how a liver becomes fatty. The fat may come from other parts of your body, or your liver may absorb an increased amount of fat from your intestine. Another possible explanation is that the liver loses its ability to change fat into a form that can be eliminated. However, the eating of fatty foods, by itself, doesnt produce a fatty liver.
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What Causes Autoimmune Hepatitis
Experts arent sure what causes autoimmune hepatitis. Studies suggest that certain genes make some people more likely to develop autoimmune diseases. In people with these genes, factors in the environment may trigger an autoimmune reaction that causes their immune system to attack the liver.
Researchers are still studying the environmental triggers that play a role in autoimmune hepatitis. These triggers may include certain viruses and medicines.
Some medicines can cause liver injury that resembles autoimmune hepatitis. In most cases, the liver injury goes away when the medicine is stopped. The most common medicines that cause liver injury that resembles autoimmune hepatitis are minocyclinean antibiotic used to treat acneand nitrofurantoinan antibiotic used to treat urinary tract infections. Telling your doctor the names of all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines or herbal or botanical products, is important.
What Is The Fastest Way To Cure Hepatitis B
Theres no cure for hepatitis b. It usually goes away on its own in 4 to 8 weeks. More than 9 out of 10 adults who have the disease recover.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 20 people who get hepatitis B as adults become carriers, which means they have a chronic infection that can cause liver damage and cancer. Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus , which is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact.
People who are infected with HCV can get cirrhosis of the liver, which can lead to liver failure and death. Its also possible to get the virus from sharing needles or syringes with someone who is infected. If youre infected, you can pass it on to your sexual partners, your children, and other people in your household.
You can also spread it to others by sharing food, water, or other items that are contaminated with blood or body fluids from an infected person.
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Joint And Muscle Pain
A condition called arthralgia causes joint pain and is common in people with hepatitis C. Itâs different from arthritis, which causes pain and swelling in joints. But infected people can also get hepatitis C-related arthritis.
Fibromyalgia, which causes body aches and muscle pain, is also common in people with hepatitis C.
Is There A Special Diet For Chronic Hepatitis
No. Try to eat as well as you can to help support your liver and overall health. Aim for a healthy eating pattern that includes vegetables and fruits, whole grains and protein foods daily.
Examples of healthy eating patterns include Canadas food guide and the Mediterranean and DASH diets.
Its important to meet your protein needs. Try to include protein foods at each meal and snack. Protein foods include:
- Beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds
- Lower fat milk, yogurt and cheese
- Fortified soy beverage
- Fish, poultry, lean meat, eggs, tofu
If you drink coffee, continue to enjoy it in moderation. It wont harm your liver. Some studies suggest that caffeinated coffee helps protect the liver. However, the evidence isnt strong enough to recommend drinking coffee if you dont drink or tolerate it.
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Metabolic Syndrome And Fatty Liver Disease
Many researchers now believe that metabolic syndrome a cluster of disorders that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke plays an important role in the development of fatty liver.Signs and symptoms of metabolic syndrome include:
- obesity, particularly around the waist
- high blood pressure
- one or more abnormal cholesterol levels high levels of triglycerides, a type of blood fat, or low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the good cholesterol
- resistance to insulin, a hormone that helps to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood.
Of these, insulin resistance may be the most important trigger of NASH. Because the condition can remain stable for many years, causing little harm, researchers have proposed that a second hit to the liver, such as a bacterial infection or hormonal abnormality, may lead to cirrhosis.
When To Call A Professional
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone born between 1945 and 1965 consider getting a one-time blood test for hepatitis C.
High-risk individuals should be tested for hepatitis C. High-risk individuals include anyone who:
- Received transfusions of blood or blood products before 1992
- Received an organ transplant before 1992
- Has ever injected drugs or snorted cocaine
- Has been on long-term hemodialysis
- Has had multiple sexual partners
- Has a long-term sexual partner with hepatitis C
- Lives in the same household as someone with hepatitis C
- Has evidence of liver disease
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What If I Have Extra Weight
Healthy eating and being active is important for everyone, regardless of body size or health. Reaching and maintaining your best weight can support liver health. For people with fatty liver disease, modest weight loss may help slow liver damage.
If you are concerned about your weight or a change in your weight, call 8-1-1 and ask to speak with a registered dietitian.
Blood And Vessel Problems
People with hepatitis C often get a condition called cryoglobulinemia. This happens when certain proteins in your blood stick together in cold weather. They can build up in vessels and block blood flow, which causes swelling and damage. The condition can affect your skin, organs, nerves, and joints.
Hepatitis C also can cause problems with blood itself. You may not make enough white blood cells, which fight infections, or platelets, which help your blood clot.
The infection can also make you bruise easily or get red or purple spots under your skin. Those are signs of a bleeding disorder called immune thrombocytopenic purpura.
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What Is The Most Common Side Effect Of Hepatitis B
Mild and last 1-2 days are what the most common side effects are. Life threatening allergic reactions are rare, but can be life threatening. A severe allergic reaction can cause symptoms such as hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, and wheezing. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Hepatitis B Vs Hepatitis C
Hepatitis has many different types. HBV and the hepatitis C virus have both acute and chronic forms.
The main difference between HBV and HCV is how they spread from person to person. Although HCV is transmissible via sexual activity, this is rare. HCV usually spreads when blood that carries the virus comes into contact with blood that does not.
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Treatment For Chronic Hbv Infection
For chronic HBV infection, antiviral medications are available.
This is not a cure for chronic HBV. However, it can stop the virus from replicating and prevent its progression into advanced liver disease.
A person with a chronic HBV infection can develop cirrhosis or liver cancer rapidly and without warning. If a person does not have access to adequate treatment or facilities, liver cancer can be fatal within months of diagnosis.
People with a chronic HBV infection require ongoing medical evaluation and an ultrasound of the liver
Causes Of Fatty Liver Disease
Eating excess calories causes fat to build up in the liver. When the liver does not process and break down fats as it normally should, too much fat will accumulate. People tend to develop fatty liver if they have certain other conditions, such as obesity, diabetes or high triglycerides.Alcohol abuse, rapid weight loss and malnutrition may also lead to fatty liver. However, some people develop fatty liver even if they have none of these conditions.
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Subdue Your Sweet Tooth
Taylor says the average American eats around 350 extra calories a day of added sugars: Thats about 35 pounds of added body weight each year.
Sugar is here, there and everywhere especially in your drink. So start there:
- Avoidsugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda and juice.
- Read food labels to expose undercover sugars in cereal, granola bars, yogurts and even oatmeal. People are horrified to see how much sugar has been pumped into their foods, Taylor says.
- Reduce your sugar, shooting for less than 25 grams of added sugar per day if youre a woman and less than 36 grams if youre a man.
How Long Can You Live With Hepatitis B Untreated
The carrier life expectancy is 71.8 years, as compared to 76.2 years for noncarriers. According to estimates, between 15% and 40% of carriers will die before the age of 70 years. Estimated Carrier Life Expectancy, by Sex and Race/Ethnicity, U.S. Adults, 2014 . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics Reports, Vol.
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Diagnosis Of Fatty Liver Disease
Your doctor may see something unusual in a blood test or notice that your liver is slightly enlarged during a routine check-up. These could be signs of a fatty liver. To make sure you dont have another liver disease, your doctor may ask for more blood tests , an ultrasound, a computed tomography scan or medical resonance imaging .If other diseases are ruled out, you may be diagnosed with NASH. The only way to know for sure is to get a liver biopsy. Your doctor will remove a sample of liver tissue with a needle and check it under a microscope.Some questions to ask your doctor after diagnosis include:
- What is the likely cause of my fatty liver?
- Do I have NASH? If not, how likely am I to develop NASH?
- Do I have cirrhosis? If not, how likely am I to develop cirrhosis?
- Do I need to lose weight? How can I do so safely?
- Should I be taking any medication to control my cholesterol and triglyceride levels?
- What medications or other substances should I avoid to protect my liver?
Impact On The Integumentary System
Hepatitis C is associated with a wide variety of skin problems. Some common conditions include easy bruising, loss of skin pigment, rashes, and itching.
Bilirubin is an important substance that comes from the breakdown of hemoglobin. When the liver cant do its job, bilirubin can build up and cause jaundice, or the yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes.
Poor liver function can also lead to poor nutrition. This leads to inadequate growth of hair and nails as well.
Skin conditions that may occur include:
- porphyria cutanea tarda, which is a kind of photosensitivity leading to skin blistering
- lichen planus, which are purple, itchy papules than can appear on the skin and in the mouth
- leukocytic vasculitis, which is inflammation of the small blood vessels
The endocrine system regulates hormones. As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid gland delivers hormones into the bloodstream.
Sometimes HCV can cause the immune system to mistakenly attack or damage thyroid tissue. This
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What Are The Complications Of Fatty Liver Disease
In many people, fatty liver by itself doesnt cause too many problems. But in some people the fatty liver gets inflamed, causing a more serious condition called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH. Ongoing inflammation may scar the liver, which can lead to cirrhosis. This is a serious illness.
A few people who get cirrhosis of the liver develop liver cancer. Some people who develop severe cirrhosis of the liver need to have a liver transplant.
People with fatty liver have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
What Are Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C
Although hep A is a short-term illness that goes away completely, hepatitis B and hepatitis C can turn into serious long-term illnesses for some people. Teens and young adults are most at risk for getting these two viruses.
Hep B and C get passed from person to person the same ways that HIV does through direct contact with infected body fluids. Hepatitis B and C are even more easily passed in fluids and needles than HIV. This can happen through sexual contact and by sharing needles that have been contaminated with infected blood. Even when infected people don’t have any symptoms, they can still pass the disease on to others.
Sometimes mothers with hep B or C pass the virus along to their babies when they’re born. Hep B and C also can get passed in ways you might not expect such as getting a manicure or pedicure with unsterilized nail clippers or other dirty instruments. Getting a tattoo, if dirty needles are used, is another way someone can get hep B or C.
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Metabolic And Hormone Changes
HIV can raise resting energy expenditure or the number of calories burned at rest.
Low calorie intake is one of the main reasons for HIV weight loss, but REE can hasten weight loss.
Hormone levels can also influence metabolism, and HIV may alter levels of hormones needed to maintain weight and grow and repair muscles. These include:
- thyroid hormones
- growth hormones and factors
Those with hypogonadism may also be prone to weight loss. This occurs when the sex glands make little to no sex hormones, such as testosterone.
Low testosterone levels may result in the slowing of protein synthesis, or the creation of proteins in the body, causing a decrease in LBM.
High levels of cytokines or cell proteins may also induce inflammationas a way to incite the immune response. The body responds by making more fats and sugars but less protein, leading to reduced LBM.
What Causes Hepatitis A And How Is It Contracted
People develop a hepatitis A infection after contracting HAV. This virus is typically transmitted by ingesting food or liquid contaminated with fecal matter that contains the virus. Once transmitted, the virus spreads through the bloodstream to the liver, where it causes inflammation and swelling.
In addition to transmission from eating food or drinking water containing HAV, the virus can also be spread by close personal contact with someone who already has it. HAV is contagious, and a person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others living in the same household.
You can contract hepatitis A by:
- eating food prepared by someone with the hepatitis A virus
- eating food handled by preparers who dont follow strict hand-washing routines before touching food that you eat
- eating sewage-contaminated raw shellfish
- having sex with someone who has the hepatitis A virus
- drinking polluted water
- coming in contact with hepatitis A-infected fecal matter
If you contract the virus, youll be contagious 2 weeks before symptoms even appear. The contagious period ends about 1 week after symptoms appear.
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