Initial Prognosis: What Now?
So, you have been diagnosed with Fatty Liver Disease, and now you’re full of questions and wondering where to go from here.
Perhaps the very first thing you should do, before anything else, is to gain a clear understanding of exactly what this disease is.
In a nutshell, Fatty Liver Disease refers to a chronic, ongoing condition in which your liver simply has too much fat (lipids) in or between your liver cells. A build up of excess fat in your liver compromises its ability to do the jobs it was designed for in keeping you healthy.
You are considered to have this disease if the lipid content in your liver is more than 5% by weight. Complications can start to occur if it’s higher than 10%.
Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and the Nonalcoholic version are the same – as the names imply, one is caused by drinking too much alcohol, and the other is due to other reasons.
The liver has many very important tasks that are absolutely essential to good health and wellness. When it is unable to do these things efficiently, your health suffers.
Knowing what the disease is and its repercussions on your health and well being will be helpful in taking the first step toward reversing it.
Yes, it can be reversed.
The liver is the only organ in the human body that has the capabilities of regenerating and repairing itself. But, you should realize that it cannot do this by itself. It needs help to restore itself back to an optimal state of health. In short, it needs YOUR help.
How to Reverse Fatty Liver Disease
There are things you can do that will assist your liver in becoming healthy again after a diagnosis of Fatty Liver Disease. Here are some of the ways you can start to improve your prognosis:
- Eat a healthy, well balanced and nutritious diet. Your liver needs good food from the basic food pyramid, including dairy, vegetables, “good” fats, fruits and proteins. Limit cholesterol and fatty or sugar laden foods. Add more cold-water fish to your diet for omega 3 fatty acids, which help repair cell structure.
- Avoid high glycemic carbohydrates and sugar. This includes anything “white” – white rice, white bread, sugar, and most breakfast cereals. Substitute with brown rice and whole-grain bread.
- Avoid alcohol. If you have the alcoholic form of the disease, you MUST stop drinking altogether … forever. Sorry, but it’s either continue drinking or staying alive. For the non-alcoholic version, limit your intake to a glass of wine once a day, which actually helps your liver. (Beer and spirits had no effect.)
- Lose Weight … Slowly. If you are obese or overweight, begin a healthy diet and exercise to shed those excess pounds. Remember, if you are carrying too much fat, chances are your liver is, too. However, don’t go into “starvation mode” – this will actually worsen your condition.
- Exercise. Getting enough healthy exercise can help you and your liver become healthier. Besides being good for you in so many ways, exercise can also help you lose weight, which will help get rid of the extra fat in your liver.
- Avoid certain medications, such as Tylenol and Aspirin. Talk to your doctor about any medications you are currently taking, as many prescription meds are hard on your liver.
Stages of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Basically, there are two types of this condition:
- Benign Fatty Liver Disease
- NASH, or Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis
The first type has fatty infiltration of the liver without inflammation. The second type has inflammation that can progress to cirrhosis.
There are three stages of Fatty Liver Disease:
- Fatty Infiltration
In the first stage, your liver has too much fat but no inflammation.
The second stage develops when the excess fat in your liver leads to its inflammation.
The third and final stage is cirrhosis, which causes scarring and hardening of the liver and can progress to liver failure and death.
Regardless of which stage your Fatty Liver Disease may be in, it is still possible to improve or reverse it. The lifestyle and diet changes needed to deal with this health condition are the same for each stage. Even if you are in the third stage of the disease, you can make the changes that will improve the health of your liver, or at the very least halt progression of further damage.
Before embarking on any of the steps required to reverse the disease, you must work on your mindset and prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to cure it.
Get in the Groove to Improve
Getting in the groove to reverse Fatty Liver Disease will be an enormous help to you, psychologically speaking, in making the necessary changes to your habits and lifestyle. You might say that where your mind goes, your body will follow.
Rest assured, there is a lot you can do – many simple changes – to reverse it. Diabetics will need to adjust their diets according to the recommended ADA requirements.
The Fatty Liver Diet Guide goes into this in much more detail. It is a fantastic resource to help you reverse Fatty Liver Disease, with diet plans, recipes and a lifestyle plan going forward.