Liver Disease: Expert discusses risks and symptoms
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One in every three people in the UK is estimated to be in the early stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD for short. NAFLD is an umbrella term for a variety of conditions that have one thing in common – the build-up of fat in your liver. Worryingly, effects sertraline during pregnancy the last stage of NAFLD could cause potentially “life-threatening” liver scarring.
Symptoms don’t always appear in the early stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to the NHS.
Patients often find out only when they are being tested for something else that their liver is being taken over by fat.
However, NAFLD can cause some signs to crop up as it progresses.
This type of liver disease develops in four main stages, with the last destination being known as cirrhosis.
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The NHS explains that cirrhosis crops up after years of inflammation and causes your liver to shrink and become scarred and lumpy.
The health service explains: “Your liver may keep working even when you have cirrhosis.
“However, cirrhosis can eventually lead to liver failure, and you can get serious complications, which can be life-threatening.” Some of these serious complications include liver cancer.
While cirrhosis can be very serious, treatment may be able to stop it from getting worse.
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This makes symptoms awareness front and centre, with the warning signs including:
- Feeling very tired and weak
- Feeling sick (nausea)
- Losing your appetite
- Losing weight and muscle mass
- Getting red patches on your palms and small, spider-like blood vessels on your skin (spider angiomas) above waist level.
The health service recommends to “see a GP” if you think you may have cirrhosis.
Untreated cirrhosis can progress further and trigger problems like yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice) or even vomiting blood.
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Joseph Ambani, Medical Director from GlowBar, said: “If you are diagnosed with liver disease (based on the physical exam, blood tests, imaging studies, or other diagnostic tests), your healthcare provider will work with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
“Treatment for liver disease will depend on the underlying cause and the severity of your condition.
“Treatment options may include lifestyle changes, medication, or in some cases, surgery.”
From a healthy diet to exercise, various lifestyle changes could help guide you out of the woods.
The NHS advises aiming for a healthy weight and following a diet packed with fruits, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates, but low in fat, sugar and salt.
What you drink could also play a role, with the health service recommending opting for water instead of sugary drinks.
Other interventions such as exercise, quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol could also be useful.
While NAFLD isn’t triggered by alcohol, drinking may make it worse so it’s advisable to cut down or stop drinking altogether.
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